Hamilton 5-year-old earns Hero of Character award

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Sometimes character can be taught, showing the next generation how to be a good person.

But in the case of Hudson Lewis, and likely the others being honored this spring at the 2024 Heroes of Character, they were born with it. The difference, though, between Hudson and all the other worthy honorees ― both students and adults ― is that he’s 5 and among the youngest ever to be named a Student Hero of Character.

The Heroes of Character is the annual award ceremony for the Character Council of Cincinnati in collaboration with Hamilton’s City of Character Coalition, and this year it’s held on April 11 at the Delta Marriott in Sharonville. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Be the Change,” which references the famous quote often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, where he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Though Hudson has yet to experience much of the world as a 5-year-old preschooler, he’s making his corner of the world better, especially now that he’s a bigger brother. He has a pair of older siblings, a 15-year-old sister and 8-year-old brother, and has a 1-year-old younger brother.

Karli Harrison, his teacher at Linden Elementary, said he’s a caring kid and always includes everyone, whether it’s someone new joining a workgroup or playgroup.

“He never complains and jumps right in to accept and include them, regardless of their ability level,” she said. “Hudson always displays a positive attitude and always helps around the classroom. He even cleans up messes he did not make without being asked or rewarded.”

There’s no hesitation with him to help someone in need, even if they don’t think they need it.

Heidi Lewis, his mom, said one day, about a month before his honor was announced, Hudson was being Hudson. His dad, Cory Lewis, was waiting for Hudson after the morning preschool class let out at Linden Elementary. About halfway to the car, he turned around and walked back to the building. He held the door open for everyone, teachers included.

“I think he’s going to really become something one day,” Heidi Lewis said. “He’s just an amazing kid.”

Hudson isn’t the only Hamiltonian being honored. In fact, he isn’t the only one from Linden Elementary. Fifth-grader Felia Benissan, fourth-grader Kaison Baldwin, fourth-grader Baily Zellner, Assistant Principal Michelle Konerman and Safe and Secure Monitor Tim Brown also will be honored as either a Student or Adult Hero of Character.

“Linden staff is all in for growing our students not only academically, but holistically,” said school Principal Brandi Hazelwood. “We want our Linden leaders to leave us as they advance through their educational journey and be the future of Hamilton.”

And students are led by “a staff that has all of our arrows aligned in the same direction, working to partner with our families to move mountains for our students,” she said. “I get to serve the staff and students in this building, and it is humbling to have many students and staff recognized for this prestigious honor.”

There are others from Hamilton being honored: Jonathan Frost as an Adult Hero of Character, and sixth-grader Colton Gorsuch from Bridgeport Elementary, and senior Logan Pickett and sophomore Kaitlyn (Jasper) Roberts from Hamilton High School as Student Heroes of Character. In all, 10 of the 32 being honored are from Hamilton, a place known for many things, including its award-winning municipal water.

And character should be added to that list, something Hamilton Superintendent Mike Hollbrook stresses.

“We try to emphasize character every day in our classroom and in our buildings, but it’s also a community value,” he said. “Kids come to us with certain values, and we can help enhance those, but character is one of those things that comes from home, and it’s being displayed every day by our staff. We teach an awful lot about what goes inside the classroom, but the character piece is something that they’re going to take with them for the rest of their life.”

Though home and school life are major reasons why people develop good character, in Hamilton, maybe, it’s also in the water.


The 2024 Heroes of Character celebration is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on April 11 at the Delta Marriott in Sharonville.

Tickets are now on sale and are available at CharacterCincinnati.org.

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