Informed and engaged: Lawrence County’s future leaders
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2022
Some of the county’s best and brightest students gathered at Ohio University-Southern to be recognized for their participation in a fairly new program called the Lawrence County Civic Scholars, in which high schoolers get to learn about how government works and maybe one day become leaders themselves. The program aims to equip students with the tools they need to be informed and engaged citizens.
“We hear all the time about brain drain, we hear of people leaving our county, we hear about workforce development needs. This is workforce development, this is economic development. This is showing our students that, ‘hey, you have a place here, you belong here,’” said Dylan Bentley, a deputy auditor for Lawrence County.
“Thank you for wanting to be a part of this program. We don’t publicize it very well because we want students who want to be here. We don’t want students whose parents signed them up or are just trying to get out of class. We want students who want to learn and better themselves. Whether you’re a 4.0 student, 3.0 student or 0.0 student, we want to give you the opportunity to do that,” said Bentley.
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While the program was launched during the pandemic, this year, students were able to not only attend the reception in person, but also were placed in offices for more hands-on learning experiences.
“They learned design thinking,” Bentley said. “They got to learn and grow from (mentors) while they applied design thinking, while they tried to find a problem or find something that wasn’t the best thing ever and try to make it better. Even if they didn’t accomplish that, they still got to learn and grow from our elected officials.”
2022 Civic Scholar participants and their mentors include Iman Kanooz, Fairland High School, paired with Hon. Donald Capper of Chesapeake Municipal Court; Abigail Carey, Ironton High School, paired with Lawrence County Engineer Patrick Leighty; Andrew Medinger, Rock Hill High school, paired with Michael Patterson, Clerk of Courts; Gracie Damron, St. Joseph High School, paired with Lawrence County Auditor P.D. Knipp; Mark Hodges, St. Joseph High School, paired with Lawrence County Treasurer Tresa Baker; Elizabeth Kline, St. Joseph High School, paired with Hon. Patricia Sanders,
Probate Juvenile Court; Connor Waller, St. Joseph High School, paired with Hon. Kevin Waldo, Ironton Municipal Court; Kimrie Staley, South Point High School, paired with Department of Jobs and Family Services director Jamie Murphy; Brea Belville, Symmes Valley High School, paired with Lawrence County commissioner DeAnna Holliday; and Abigail Wilson of Symmes Valley High School, paired with EMS director of finance Lori Morris.