Leaders of the future (WITH GALLERY)

Published 8:30 am Saturday, April 1, 2023

Civic Scholars honored at OUS event

The next generation of leaders from Lawrence County were honored by current leaders on Tuesday at Ohio University Southern.

A reception for the Lawrence County Civic Scholars took place in the school’s Mains Rotunda.

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The program, now in its third year, pairs a high school student with a public official and allows them to shadow them on the job, and is open to juniors and seniors

Students presented the result of their tenure at the reception, in which they were asked to identify a “pain point” and come up with a solution.

Victoria Thompson, of Fairland, and Jayson Smith, of Rock Hill, were named the top scholars at the reception.

Thompson was paired with the County Treasurer Tresa Baker.

She said she found the biggest misconception people have about that office is that they wrongly think the treasurer sets tax rates for the county.

She said, during her time in the office, she also learned to “see both sides of the situation,” and the conflict between interests of citizens vs. employees there.

For her solution to a “pain point,” she said she designed a kiosk providing information to those visiting the office.

Smith was paired with County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson.

He said the stay broadened his understanding of the justice system, and that he visited with County Common Pleas judges Andy Ballard and Christen Finley, as well as Ironton Municipal Judge Kevin Waldo.

For his “pain point,” he said, many times, prospective jurors do not fill out their questionnaires before court appointments, so he designed a flyer, stressing the importance of the survey, to be mailed to them.

Closing out the event was guest speaker, Dr. Bill Dingus, president of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation.

Dingus said the Civic Scholars program exemplifies what Benjamin Franklin meant, when he said, “Teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Dingus told the scholars that it is important to develop a “solid skill set,” which he said was “fundamental” to success.

He also advised them to write out a list of goals for each day, stating this is something he still does.

Holliday said the county’s civic scholar program is gaining accolades around the state and noted that it was recently honored at an Ohio School Boards Association event at Buckeye Hills Career Center. Iman Kanooz, of Fairland, last year’s top scholar, accepted that recognition on behalf of the program.

“Every year, I think ‘This class can’t be outdone,’” Holliday said. “I’m so impressed with these students.”

Civic Scholars for 2023 were Megan Wroblewski, of Chesapeake; Jacob Seagraves, of Fairland; Tori Thompson, of Fairland; Danielle Leonard, of Ironton; Tate Munion, of Ironton; Gavin Waldrop, of Rock Hill; Andrew Medinger, of Rock Hill; Jayson Smith, of Rock Hill; Brady Medinger, of St. Joseph; Lily Schneider, of Symmes Valley; Tyler Loudenberg, of Symmes Valley; and Veronica Poynor, of Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School.

They were paired with (in order), Lawrence County Commissioner DeAnna Holliday; County Auditor Paul David Knipp;  County Department of Job and Family Services director Jamie Murphy; County Treasurer Tresa Baker; County Common Pleas Judge Christen Finley; County Board of Elections director Cathy Snider; Zach Schweinsberg, of the county health department; Chesapeake Municipal Judge Donald Capper; Ironton Municipal Judge Kevin Waldo; County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson; Matt Capper, of the County Soil & Water Conservation District; County Clerk of Courts Mike Patterson and Nick Kuhn of Lawrence County 911.