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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Thomas Arsenault is a third grade student at Alimacani Elementary.

"When I'm stuck on a problem, he'll try and help me figure out the answer," said friend and classmate Christopher Strong.

"He's responsible and respects how people act," adds Carys Judalena.

He might be small, but Thomas has one big heart.

"In soccer, he passes a lot," explains friend, Turner Colbert. "That's what I like about him; he's not a ball hog."

However, Thomas' third grade teacher, Kay Park, said he's more than just a good teammate or study partner. "He's just so genuinely kind nice and I know that came from his father," she said.

Yet, behind all his kindness is sorrow. Thomas lost his father to cancer when he was just three years old.

"Every day, I know he thinks about his father," said Park. "I don't know how to explain how I know that. You can tell. He wears that in his eyes."

Even though he's had to overcome tragedy at such a young age, Thomas makes it a point to put others before himself. "If they [classmates] fall, I try to help them up," he said.

He goes on to say that if someone looks lonely, he will play with them and make sure they feel included. Thomas said the reason behind his thoughtfulness is because he doesn't want anyone to ever feel sad.

He said he likes to help others because he knows each person is important; something he said he learned from his father. "He was really nice, so I kind of copied him," Thomas said. "He was a great man and I want to be like him."

Park said Thomas helps all around the school, all the time.

"Every day I look at Thomas, and every day I see him offering to help someone or to help around the classroom," she said. "It's just a wonderful thing and I know his mother and his father are very proud of him."

"Smart, genuine and kind" are rarely words used to accurately describe a nine-year-old boy, but Thomas seems to be an exception.

Close friend, Turner Colbert sums him up nicely, "All that stuff combined is one really great guy. And that guy is Thomas."

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