It's all about character.

That's the message the gifted and talented students at Salazar Elementary were trying to convey to fellow students Oct. 25. The students presented "Dora the Explorer and the Character Adventure," a play to teach good character, to the student body to help celebrate Character Counts Week.

Character Counts is a research-based curriculum used across the nation to help teach character education in the schools, said gifted and talented teacher Norma Longoria. Counselors at Salazar have used the curriculum for the past five years. Each year during Character Counts Week, the gifted and talented students perform a play that teaches the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

This year, the students used a popular cartoon character, Dora the Explorer, to teach the six pillars. In the play, Dora and her companion, Boots, are looking for the Six Pillars of Character. Along the way, they meet six different animals. The animals are part of the Character Counts Carousel of Animals and guide them along the way. As Dora and Boots find the six pillars, they realize they had character within themselves all along.

Parents, grandparents and staff members thoroughly enjoyed the performance, Longoria said, and the students received many favorable comments from those in attendance.

The play was written by school counselor, Rosalinda-Saenz Ramirez. During Character Counts week, classroom doors all around the campus were also painted in the six colors that the pillars represent and many staff members dressed up as Pillars of Character to show their students "how committed they are to this program," Longoria said.