ST. HENRY — Seven Darke County Students from Darke County schools received a 20 Under 20 Award for their work in a business, Wednesday, April 26.
According to Darke County Economic Development’s Career Pathway Coordinator Lisa J. Wendel, the purpose of the awards is to recognize students, schools, educators and businesses leaders in the Darke, Mercer and Auglaize regions, who have been very proactive in trying to find solutions to meeting the region’s workforce demands of today and tomorrow. Part of the criteria for nominated students chosen for an award was the existence of a trio between them, the school and a business. The 20 Under 20 Awards are to draw attention to these collaborations in the hopes that these counties’ brightest students eventually return to the area to work and raise their families, Wendel said.
“It became obvious that schools and businesses are going to have to operate more collaboratively toward that goal,” she said. “Tonight we are going to recognize 20 students, 13 schools and 11 businesses that have put action behind their words. When students are given opportunities to learn and work outside the school building, learning inside the school building takes on relevance.”
Darke County student winners and partners include: Joseph Bowman, Upper Valley Career-Technical Center (CTC), Versailles Exempted Village Schools, Education Partner: Allen Wuebker, Business Partner: Nidec Minster Corp., Steve Couse; Dillon Reck, Upper Valley CTC, Bradford Exempted Village Schools, Education Partner: Brent Snell, Business Partner: Nidec Minster Corp., David Jaros; Ashlyn Menger, Greenville High School (GHS) and GHSCTC, Education Partner: Emily Powers, Business Partner: Village Green, Stephanie Hardwick; Hope Pike, GHS and GHSCTC, Education Partner: Emily Powers, Business Partner: Village Green, Stephanie Hardwick; Shelbi Miller, GHS and GHSCTC, Education Partner: Jim Anderson, Business Partner: Schultz Motors, Ron Fair; Josh Smith, GHS and GHSCTC, Education Partners: Adam Eberwein and Karla Holzapfel, Business Partners: Midmark Corp., Bethany Menke and John Roderer; and Terin Ellis, GHS, GHSCTC and Edison Community College, Education Partner: Dara Buchy, Business Partner: Ramco Electric Motors, Jase Barhorst.
Greenville High School CTC Director/Coordinator of Technology and Virtual Academy Stan Hughes said the award recipients are some awesome kids. He said CTC staff are fortunate for the ability to spend more time with the students, as CTC students attend at least two periods a day taking CTC classes.
“Part of our job as educators is to support kids when they need support,” he said. “We are supporting them by giving them opportunities to learn skills as well as post – secondary credits. Some of our kids are super motivated, intrinsically, and they just know what they want to do. We see kids going into engineering – into four-year schools, others are getting two-year degrees. They are all successful with those same kinds of values and motivations. It is pretty awesome.”
Director of Mercer County Economic Development Jared Ebbing said without everybody pulling together as a region, the 20 Under 20 Awards could never happen.
“I appreciate everyone pulling together and making this work,” he said. “I also appreciate all of the businesses involved and the great schools we have. This is our second annual, and it just goes to the heart of what we are trying to accomplish as a region, as a community, who we are and what we want to be in the future. We are nothing without our future.”
GHS Superintendent Doug Fries was pleased with the well representation and recognition the awards provided.
“Congratulations not only to our young people, but to our entire Career – Tech Department,” he said. “It’s certainly a pleasure to work not only with our kids, but with our local businesses and industries.”