ST. HENRY – Twelve Darke County youths were among the 20 honored at the first-ever Twenty Under Twenty Awards, held Wednesday evening in St. Henry. The awards were a collaboration between Darke County Economic Development and The Auglaize Mercer Business Education Alliance.
The honorees were Randy Blakely and Austin Alexander, Ansonia Local Schools; Zackary Miller, Mississinawa Valley Local Schools; Shelby Winner and Abigail White, Versailles Exempted Village Schools; Justin Hoke and Michael Johnson, Arcanum Butler Local Schools; Evan Weaver, Franklin Monroe Local Schools and Miami Valley Career Technical Center; Rhyan Turner, Bradford Exempted Village Schools; Jana Carolin Koslitzki, Drew Patty and Bailey Powell, Bradford Exempted Schools; Jay Gruss, Coldwater High School; Lindsey Bergman, Celina High School; Garret Winget, Celina High School; Michaela Siefring, St. Henry High School; Matt Bertke, Marion Local High School; Alex Hemmelgarn, St. Henry High School; Devin Kuck, New Knoxville High School; and Tara Sterling, St. Marys High School.
Lisa Wendel, Career Pathway Coordinator for Darke County Economic Development, presented the awards for the Darke County honorees.
Austin Alexander and Randy Blakely, both seniors at Ansonia High School, also attend the Greenville Career Technical Center in the Computer Information Systems Program. Both work as technology assistants at Ansonia School, and Alexander works at Mississinawa Valley, as well.
Both work after school during the school year working on help desk tickets and resolving issues, and providing training for students and staff. They also work during the summer performing maintenance on existing programs, installing new equipment, and updating documentation and procedures.
Blakely plans to attend Wright State University, majoring in computer science. Alexander plans to attend the Indiana Institute of Technology and was recently awarded the engineering and computer sciences scholarship from that school. Both want to work for a local company in their IT Department.
The two were nominated by Shawn Peters, technology coordinator for Ansonia and Mississinawa Valley.
Zackary Miller is a sophomore at Mississinawa Valley and currently works four hours a day at JAFE Decorating. He was referred to the internship program by his teacher, Kim Knox.
“When I went out to JAFE to check on Zack’s performance,” Wendel said, “his supervisor, Ed Orazen, commented that his performance was exemplary, and if having to assign a grade, he would give him an A+.”
Miller is planning to attend the MVCTC next year and take welding classes.
Shelby Winner and Abigail White were nominated by their superintendent, Aaron Moran, for their food science project to develop a new flavor for Velvet Ice Cream.
The students began with a consultation with Chef Michael Deligatta from Michael Anthony’s at the Inn. The winning flavor, which was selected at the Ohio State Fair FFA Convention was lemon ginger. Velvet may add the flavor to a limited-edition line. In addition to developing the flavor, the students learned how a business markets a product. Their education partner was teacher Dena Wuebker.
Justin Hoke and Michael Johnson are students at Arcanum Butler and were nominated by their principal, Jason Stephan. Arcanum-Butler and Ramco Electric Motors formed a partnership to create paid internship opportunities for students. Hoke and Johnson were the first two students selected for the opportunity.
Hoke is interning on the business side in the front office, and Johnson is working on the manufacturing side in production. Tara Hagen, Arcanum Butler guidance counselor, is their education partner.
Evan Weaver is a student at Franklin Monroe High School and MVCTC. He was nominated by Kelly Herzog, public information officer at the MVCTC. He is studying precision machining at MVCTC, and last summer he worked full time at Ramco Electric Motors. He continues to work throughout his senior year and has been offered a full-time job upon graduation.
Rhyan Turner, a Bradford senior, was nominated by his former high school principal, P.J. Burgett. He pursued an engineering line of study through his school’s STEM classes and later forged a relationship with Midmark employee Matt Magoto during Manufacturing Day. The subsequent job shadow led Turner to wish to continue in the field and nominated himself for internship. He has been working about three hours a day at Midmark as a pre-engineer.
He is planning on attending the University of Akron and major in software engineering. He has applied for the Midmark scholarship.
Jana Carolin Koslitzki, Drew Patty and Bailey Powell are students at Bradford. Their collaboration with a business led to a solution to a problem that had been plaguing FRAM. Sensors in the plant were continually malfunctioning, causing line shutdowns and expense. The company suspected a cleaning solution was the problem.
Patty and Powell worked together to determine which cleaners were the most detrimental and are writing a Standard Operating Procedure for cleaning. Koslitzki designed a protective device for the sensors.
“I think Darke County has a lot to be proud of,” Wendel said. “For its students, they come to work and school for the most part ready to learn and with a strong work ethic.”
This was the first year for the Twenty Under Twenty Awards, and all of the organizers stressed that it will be returning next year and for years to come.