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T h e O f f i c i a l M a g a z i n e o f t h e C i t y o f P i c k e r i n g t o n a n d V i o l e t To w n s h i p


Signing In North ASL teacher Sarah Whitcraft

INSIDE District alumni’s advice Career pathways in the schools Pickerington Mayfest

OhioHealth Pickerington Medical Campus

Great care is even better when it’s close to home. + Convenient medical care, lab services, physical therapy and imaging, all in one place + Board-certified physicians, right in your neighborhood + 24/7 emergency care + The only outpatient surgery center in the area

OhioHealth Pickerington Medical Campus 1010 Refugee Road | Pickerington, Ohio 43147 Find a physician at Š OhioHealth Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. FY18-139-4-50897. 03/18.


Center for Arts-Inspired Learning | Cleveland (Cuyahoga) A R T S PAT R O N

Stuart and Mimi Rose | Springboro (Warren) BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (L ARGE) The J.M. Smucker Company | Orrville (Wayne) BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (SMALL) Heartland Bank | Gahanna (Franklin) C O M M U N I T Y D E V E L O P M E N T A N D PA R T I C I PAT I O N

Sierra Leone | Dayton (Montgomery)

C O M M U N I T Y D E V E L O P M E N T A N D PA R T I C I PAT I O N David Poe Mitzel, Ph.D. | Zanesville (Muskingum)

It’s time to celebrate and support the arts in Ohio. Join us for Arts Day & the Governor’s Awards luncheon. Reserve your spot today! Your $50 ticket includes the Arts Day kickoff, Award Ceremony lunch, and dessert reception. All proceeds go to the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation.


Ricardo Averbach, DMA | Oxford (Butler) I R M A L A Z A R U S AWA R D

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

Dayton (Montgomery)

Award Artist: Carol Stewart Artwork: “Marigold” by Carol Stewart | Design: Formation Studio

With Support From:


pickerington magazine TM

1335 Dublin Rd., Ste. 101C Columbus, Ohio 43215 614-572-1240 • Fax 614-572-1241 Kathleen K. Gill




Gianna Barrett

Vice President, Sales

Dave Prosser

Chief Creative Officer

Gary Hoffman

Creative Director

Garth Bishop

Managing Editor

Amanda DePerro Rocco Falleti Jenny Wise

Assistant Editors

Lydia Freudenberg

Contributing Editor

Laura Baird Laura Cole Alex CurranCardarelli Brenda Layman Bianca Wilson

Contributing Writers

Sheila Rossiter

Advertising Director

Brenda Lombardi Diane Trotta

Advertising Sales

Jamie Armistead

Accounting Manager


614-572-1240 CityScene Media Group also publishes: CityScene Magazine Dublin Life Magazine Westerville Magazine Tri-Village Magazine Healthy New Albany Magazine HealthScene Ohio The Publisher welcomes contributions in the form of manuscripts, drawings, photographs or story ideas to consider for possible publication. Enclose a SASE with each submission or email gbishop@ Publisher does not assume responsibility for loss or damage. The appearance of advertising in Pickerington Magazine does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s product or service by the City of Pickerington. Pickerington Magazine is published in June, August, October, December, February and April. Subscriptions are free for households within the city limits of Pickerington, Ohio. For advertising information or bulk purchases, call 614-572-1240. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publishers. Pickerington Magazine is a registered trademark of CityScene Media Group. Printed in the U.S.A. © 2018.


pickerington magazine volume 10, number 4 april/may 2018

6 Calendar 9

News and Information from the City of Pickerington


News and Information from Violet Township



Signs of Success


North ASL teacher also educates on the importance of making a difference


in focus

Live Long and Prosper Pickerington graduates give advice for the class of 2018



Passions to Pathways


student spotlight

Pickerington schools use technology and career pathways to better prepare students


Derek Abner Insurance Agency From our family, to yours!

We invite you to our...

2018 SPRING IT ON! Event

From now until June, DAIA will be conducting an experiment. If we can’t beat your current Home & Auto rates, we will give you $20! So stop by, or give us a call, and Spring it On!

60 Hill Road S. Pickerington, 43147 (614) 656-6761

auto . home . life . business

Sky High Ambitions

Central senior looks to a future above the clouds

on the table


Hopping Forward

Chocolate Hop evolves into Mayfest in 2018

around pickerington


Photos from the community



Students of the Stage



Pickerington Community Theatre’s summer camp offers acting experience

On the cover: Sarah Whitcraft. Photo by Jeffrey S. Hall Photography PickeringtonMagazine


pickerington community calendar april/may 2018 April 5

April 8

Madame X: The First Lady of Cryptology

Paws 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Run

7:30-9 p.m., Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society Museum, 15 E. Columbus St., This program, led by historian Travis Risner, focuses on Westerville’s famed Agnes Meyer Driscoll, the “First Lady of Cryptology,” and her Naval service during World War I and World War II.

1 p.m., Hereford Drive, This fourth annual event, sponsored by Pickerington Lions Club and Leo Club with Dwayne R. Spence Funeral Home, raises money for Guide Dog for the Blind (Pilot Dog Inc.). Participants are encouraged to bring their dogs.

Mark you r calendar for these commun ity events April 21 9 a.m., Sycamore Creek Park, 500 Hereford Dr., This annual celebration features the Pickerington Community Choir, a Cub Scout color guard performance, a chance to meet the winners of the third grade essay contest, presentation of the Tree City USA award and more.

April 21 Brevard Circle 5K

April 12-15 Little Shop of Horrors

April 7-Dec. 15 Historical Museum Open House 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society Museum, 15 E. Columbus St., This year’s Saturday Open Houses will feature local artifacts from Adena weapons and tools to Pickerington’s first town pump.

7:30 p.m. April 12-14, 3 p.m. April 15, Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way, Seymour, Audrey, Mr. Mushnik and the ravenous man-eating plant Audrey II take the stage at Central.

April 13 Small Business Summit 7:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Zion Church, 5780 Reynoldsburg-Baltimore Rd., This brand-new Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce event brings in speakers for a day of professional development for local and regional small business owners.

11 a.m., Sycamore Creek Elementary School, 500 Sycamore Creek St., This fifth annual 5K raises money and awareness for type 1 diabetes.

April 21 Violet Township Women’s League Style Show 11:30 a.m., Jefferson Golf & Country Club, 7271 Jefferson Meadows Dr., Blacklick, This 19th annual Violet Township Women’s League event, which features a luncheon and raffle in addition to the style show, raises money for the

Submit Your Event

Do you have an event you would like to submit to our calendar? Send details and photos to 6

Photos courtesy of Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society, Pickerington Leo Club, Violet Township Women’s League, Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce and Karen Elson

Arbor Day Celebration

league’s community service scholarship fund.

May 5

April 26

10 a.m-5 p.m., Pickerington Public Library, 201 Opportunity Way, Authors, artists, cosplayers, food trucks, panel discussions, games and more come together for this fifth annual event, previously known as the Big Comic Show.

Meet the Author: Sieglinde Martin

Pickerington Comic Fest

7-8 p.m., Pickerington Public Library, 201 Opportunity Way, Local author Martin discusses her new book, Small Feet on the Run, a true story about 18 children in Germany May 5 and other parts of Europe during World Magic with a Message War II. 7 p.m., Peace United Methodist Church, 235 Diley Rd., www. April 26-29 A Chorus Line This charity magic show, featuring mul7:30 p.m. April 26-28, 2 p.m. April tiple stage performers, raises money for 29, Pickerington High School North, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. 7800 Refugee Rd., May 11 North’s student actors present the Pickerington Area Chamber renowned Marvin Hamlisch play set on Golf Classic a Broadway stage during auditions for Noon-6 p.m., Turnberry Golf Course, a musical. 1145 Clubhouse Ln.,

May 4

Shred Day 5-7 p.m., Derek Abner Insurance Agency Inc., 60 Hill Rd. S., Visitors to this inaugural Shred Day event may shred up to five boxes of documents for free.

May 5 Tyler’s Light 5K Run/Walk 10 a.m., Toll Gate Middle School, 12183 Toll Gate Rd., The seventh annual 5K is open to anyone who wants to participate, and raises money and awareness to encourage people to live a drug-free life by spreading its “speak up and save a life” message.

This Pickerington tradition features, in addition to golf, lunch, snacks, prizes and camaraderie.

May 12 Pickerington Village MayFest 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Pickerington Village, www. This family event, which includes the popular Chocolate Hop, will feature craft vendors on Columbus Street as well as food and live music.

Demand Response Monday – Friday or Loop Service in Pickerington Monday, Wednesday and Thursday

9am – 5pm

740-681-5086 Providing safe, affordable and accessible transportation for anyone in Fairfield County. 7

pickerington community calendar april/may 2018 May 12

features 42 costumes from Forrest Gump, Coming to America, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and many other Paramount films.

Pickerington Community Chorus presents Get Happy! 3 p.m., Peace United Methodist Church, 235 Diley Rd., www. The Pickerington Community Chorus puts on its spring concert.

Discover the Dream 6-10 p.m., Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W. Powell Rd., Powell, Now in its 13th year, this annual event raises money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. It features cocktails, dinner, live and silent auctions, a patient speaker, and a “Give to Live” event.

High School Graduation

May 19-Aug. 12 Creating the Illusion: Costumes and Characters from the Paramount Pictures Archive

9 a.m. North, noon Central, World Harvest Church, 4595 Gender Rd., Canal Winchester, www.pickerington.k12. Members of the class of 2018 at Pickerington’s two high schools turn their tassels.

Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, 145 E. Main St., Lancaster, www. Inspired by the book Creating the Illusion by Jay Jorgensen and Donald Scoggins, this exhibit

Mark Your Calendars! Food Truck Frenzy: June 3

Community Shred Day! Friday, May 4 5pm-7pm

60 Hill Road South Pickerington Sponsored by:

Derek Abner Insurance Agency

For more information call (614) 733-8630 or visit


Photos courtesy of John Nixon and Dony West

May 17

May 26




Springtime in Pickerington Mark your calendar for these exciting upcoming events Pickerington is hopping with a variety of spring events for the entire community. The season kicked off with Breakfast with the Bunny on Saturday, March 24, but there’s much more in store. On Saturday, April 21, a celebration of the City’s commitment to preserving the beauty of its trees and landscape, will be held at the Sycamore Creek Park Arboretum at 9 a.m. The annual Arbor Day Celebration, sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department, will feature music by the Pickerington Community Chorus, a brief history lesson about Arbor Day, a color guard presented by the Cub Scouts and the presentation of the Tree City USA award to the City. The winners of the third-grade essay contest will also be recognized. Light refreshments will be served for the enjoyment of the attendees. April is the month for residents to get into the swim of things and save at the Pickerington Community Pool. Early bird registration for pool passes runs through April 30, and signups for swim lessons starts April 30. On Saturday, May 12, families are invited out to the Pickerington Community Pool parking lots to explore various emergency and maintenance vehicles at the annual Toucha-Truck event from 10 a.m.-noon. Skid steers, fire trucks, tractors, dump trucks and Gators will be on hand for children to explore. Children can sit in the driver’s seat, ask questions about the vehicles and even get their own driver’s license.

Information on swim fees and other special events sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department are online at or can be obtained by calling Parks and Recreation at 614-833-2211.


News and information from the City of Pickerington

Code Enforcement News By Mike Magee, Zoning Inspector

As spring and summer approach, it’s a good time to share information that can help keep our City looking great and property values high. As the zoning inspector for the City, my duties include investigating reported code violations and working to resolve them. In most cases, the violation is due to a lack of knowledge about the code, and is easily resolved to the satisfaction of the resident and the City. On extremely rare occasions, the issue has to be resolved in Mayor’s Court. The following list includes the most commonly reported code violations (with examples): Grass and/or nuisance weeds – lawns higher than 6 inches or overgrown with weeds Inoperable vehicles – visibly inoperable (flat tires, no license plates, etc.) Trash – receptacles left out or left in front of house, trash left out more than 24 hours before Friday pickup RV/trailer parking – RV/trailers left in street, driveway or front yard setback Vehicle parking – vehicles parked in front or side yards Permitting – permits not obtained for various home projects (fences, patios, pools, driveways, etc.) Signs – permits not obtained for various types of signs, signs not picked up Property maintenance – leaning fences, broken gutters, moldy/ algae-covered exteriors, overgrowth of landscaping

216 Lakeview Dr. (shown here and below) will be razed and removed summer/fall 2018.

Animals – feeding wild animals, raising agricultural animals Portable basketball hoops – left in streets The City Code is a great reference if you have any questions or concerns. A link to the complete City Code can be found on our website at If you have any questions or need to report a violation, I can be reached at or 614-8332204, ext. 2434. Complaints can also be submitted online at www.pickering Enforcement. Responsible homeownership requires diligence and awareness. My hope is that by spreading awareness, we can work together to keep our City

looking great. I look forward to working with residents and, as always, remain at your service.

citydirectory Pickerington City Hall, 100 Lockville Rd.

(All numbers prefixed with the 614 area code)

Building Services ..................... 833-2221 City Clerk/Council..................... 837-3974 City Manager........................... 837-3974 Development Services.............. 833-2204 Engineering Services ............... 833-2221 Finance Services...................... 837-3974 Human Resources.................... 837-3974 Income Tax Division.................. 837-4116 Mayor’s Office (Lee A. Gray)............................ 837-3974 Mayor’s Court.......................... 837-3974 Parks and Recreation............... 833-2211 Police Services......................... 575-6911 Service Department Streets.................................... 833-2292 Utility Billing............................. 833-2289 Utility Maintenance................... 833-2292 Water Plant.............................. 833-2290 Waste Water Plant.................... 837-6490 Water Reclamation.................. 837-6470


News and Information From

Violet Township One Giant Leap

Violet Township’s new Fire Station 591 By Assistant Fire Chief Jim Paxton As we enter spring, we are once again reminded of renewed life and new beginnings. The Violet Township Fire Department will also experience a renewal of life this spring as we open new Station 591, in Pickerington Village. This project has taken several years to plan and complete. We have undergone exciting successes and a few setbacks. Through it all, we have been committed to answering the current and future needs of the organization and the community. For me, the opening of the new station is bittersweet. As I may have mentioned once or twice, I kind of grew up in the old firehouse. My father, Jim E. Paxton, was a volunteer firefighter/EMT throughout most of my life. I was hooked by the fire service at an early age. I was fortunate enough to experience and witness the inner workings of the old station, as well as the men and women who volunteered

so much of their time there. I was captivated by their history and their encounters. I met Santa for the first time at the old firehouse. I witnessed my first bingo game in the apparatus

bays. I remember the unique smell the interior would have the day after a fire. I enjoyed jubilation after successful runs. I felt the anguish after traumatic runs. I witnessed several expansions of the old building. I grew up as it transformed from a volunteer firehouse into a full-time fire station. I felt part of it, as well as safely at home there. I have had the honor of working at old Station 591 for 20 years. It was surreal to live out a dream in the building I grew up in. It had some special and unique characteristics. I will miss the old place, but it was time for a move forward. We had reconfigured and remodeled as much as we could. We were asking more of the structure than it could safely provide. We are excited about the new facility. New Station 591 will be stateof-the-art in many ways. From indoor training aids to an exhaust removal system, it will offer opportunities and safety features previously unavailable in any of VTFD’s facilities. 11

We have tried to blend some features of the old building into the new one. Architecturally, it was designed to reflect some of the other downtown structures while

also resembling an old firehouse. We look forward to the journey ahead, but we do not want to forget the traditions and path that led us to this moment.

Although it looks like block and concrete to most, I know the foundation of the new facility was cast upon the duty and dedication of many: Ebright, Good, Badger, Knowlton, Brubaker, Diley, Stemen, Cramer, Ellis, Patterson, Miller, Spears, McMunn, Ashton, Smith, Bessemer, Daniels, McDaniel, Fenice, Fleck, Hoover, Bednarski, McVay and Taylor, just to name a few. Many have served; all have left an impression. To them and my father, I say “thank you.” Our community and our department will always be grateful for their service. I hope that those of us who will serve the community from the new firehouse will do it as honorably as those who created the foundation.

Violet Township Welcomes South Shore Cable South Shore Cable Construction, Inc. is investing $1.2 million in Violet Township with the construction of its 14,000 square foot office-warehouse facility on the south side of Basil Western Road.

Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District to Host Lawn Care Workshop The Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District will offer a lawn care workshop on Saturday, April 14 at 9 a.m. The workshop will take place at the Violet Township Administrative Office located at 12970 Rustic Dr. The workshop will cover the following: • The benefits of healthy turfgrass • Lawn composition • The basics of sustaining healthy turfgrass • Common lawn pests you need to know This workshop is free of charge; however, we ask you to please RSVP by Thursday, April 12 because space is limited. To RSVP, please contact the Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District at 740-415-3927. For more information, please contact us at the number above or visit our website at 12

Construction began in late 2017 with the anticipation of occupying the buildings at the end of the first quarter of 2018. South Shore Cable leased space nearby for the past 15 years, but this move will allow the company to improve and grow the operation. South Shore Cable provides aerial and underground cable outside plant construction services for both the cable television and telecommunications industry. The original company, Cable TV Services Inc., was founded in 1980 by the Geib Family in northeastern Ohio, and the current company also was founded by the Geib Family back in early 1989. South Shore Cable decided back in 2002 to expand its field operations to the growing Columbus region to increase its local service territory and industry market share. The company has leased similar space in Violet Township over the past 17 years as it expanded into the central Ohio market. South Shore Cable

decided to construct its own permanent location within Violet Township after numerous years of successful business in the Columbus region. South Shore Cable currently has 25 employees in Violet Township, and this new investment will allow the company to grow by an additional 20-25 employees in 2018-19. South Shore Cable can be contacted at its main office in Cleveland at 440-816-0033. South Shore Cable is part of a growing economy in Violet Township. Violet Township continues to work with existing and new businesses to help move projects forward quickly and efficiently. These new investments enhance the economic base of our community, promote job creation and increase the overall quality of life for our residents. For more information regarding economic development, please contact Holly Mattei, AICP, Violet Township Development Director, at 614-575-5556.

Save the Date: Saturday, April 28 Drug Collection/Electronics Recycling/Paper Shred Event Scheduled By Chad Lucht, CPESC, Senior Urban Specialist, Fairfield SWCD The Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has been scheduled for Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Violet Township Service Center, 490 N. Center St. Participants are asked to enter the event from the North Center Street entrance. The Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District – in cooperation with Violet Township, Fairfield County Sheriff’s office and Lancaster-Fairfield County Recycling & Litter Prevention – will be participating in the event. This event marks an ongoing effort to rid the Pickerington community’s medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous drugs, particularly controlled substances. Only prescription pills and capsules will be collected. No aerosols, inhalers, liquids, creams, gels, ointments, powders, patches, suppositories, syringes or IVs will be accepted. We ask that you black out all personal information or remove labels before bringing containers to the disposal site. At the fall event, residents disposed of almost 45 pounds of pills. That was another 45 pounds that were not discarded in the trash or flushed down the sink or toilet, leading to potential contamination of groundwater and wastewater treatment plants and causing harm to aquatic life and the human water supply. Electronic recycling is also available at this event. The following electronic items may be dropped off at no cost: computers, laptops, printers, cables, mouses, keyboards, discs, electronic clocks, VHS/DVD players, radios and cell phones. Over 6,600 pounds of electronics were recycled at the fall event. We will be offering free document shredding at this event. We ask that participants wishing to shred documents observe a limit of three legal size boxes per car. No items containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), commonly utilized as a

refrigerant or as a propellant in aerosol We look forward to seeing everyone cans, will be accepted. A certified facil- on Saturday, April 28 as we continue to ity, such as the Lancaster Transfer Starid Pickerington and Violet Township of tion on Ewing Street in Lancaster, must unused medications. handle the disposal of this compound. Computer monitors will be accepted at no additional cost if they are included as part of an entire computer system. However, there will be a $3 disposal fee for computer monitors delivered Violet Township without a processor tower. Televisions will be accepted at the event a cost of Administrative Offices $1 per diagonal inch. Only cash and 12970 Rustic Dr. checks will be accepted as payment for Pickerington, OH 43147 disposal fees. 614-575-5556 Call the Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District office at 740-415Violet Township Fire Stations 3927 or the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Phone 614-837-4123 office at 740-652-7900 for more inforFire Chief: Michael Little mation about prescription drug disposal. #592: 8700 Refugee Rd. Call Chad Reed with Litter Prevention #591: 21 Lockville Rd. and Recycling at 740-681-4423 with #593: 2365 Taylor Park Dr. any electronic recycling questions. For those unable to attend this event, a drop-off box for prescription drugs Violet Township Service Center is available at the Pickerington Police Phone: 614-382-5979 Department located at 1311 Refugee 490 Center St. Rd. Needles and liquids are not permitPickerington, OH 43147 ted for disposal.

How to Reach Us



By Lydia Freudenberg

SIGNS OF SUCCESS North ASL teacher also educates on the importance of making a difference 14


s a child, Sarah Whitcraft would line up her Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, pretend they were her students and serve as their “teacher.” Even though Whitcraft knew she wanted to be an educator “since day one,” she says, and even though she moved to Pickerington during her seventh-grade year, she didn’t find the subject she was interested in until high school. Today, Whitcraft is an American Sign Language (ASL) teacher at Pickerington High School North, and her journey of learning and becoming passionate about ASL has taken her far.

Photo by Jeffrey S. Hall Photography

Sarah, Owen, Samantha and Joe Whitcraft

“When I left, I said, ‘This is my baby, take care of it,’ and I knew she was the person who would take care of it,” says Williams. “The (ASL) program has grown greatly over the years, and lots of students have been influenced to take sign. … Her bubbly personality has fit perfectly with what I left … and I just appreciate that our friendship has grown through the years and we’ve stayed in touch.” Over a decade-plus in the classroom, Whitcraft has not only taught ASL, she has also educated students on inaccurate deaf stereotypes, explaining that deaf people can work, drive and sometimes speak. Her favorite part is learning when her students use ASL outside of the classroom. “The kids come in and say they used it, and their faces light up, and they say, ‘Oh my gosh, I actually used it, and the person was so thankful,’” she says. “I love, love, love hearing about that.”


Photos courtesy of Sarah Whitcraft


In 2010, one of Whitcraft’s students, Morgan Dzurko, approached her with an idea for a new student organization she called Club Hope. “I said, ‘I will do it’ but we worked together because I had no clue what to do,” Whitcraft says with a laugh, adding that she had no previous experience with fundraising. Whitcraft is the club adviser and teaches her students the importance of helping others. The club volunteers for U.S. troops and at-home veteran groups, provides gift cards or Christmas gifts to families in need, and raises money for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The club’s biggest event is the Rave to Save community fair at North each March. This year, the event featured activities such as inflatable obstacle courses and an interactive animal exhibit by the Newport Aquarium. Its goal: to raise money for and awareness of cancer. “(Club Hopes aims) to raise awareness for cancer, stick together as a community and support all the families that have to go through this unfortunate circumstance,” Whitcraft says. “It’s nice to have fun as a family and know you are furthering cancer research to hopefully find a cure.” The money raised goes to Nationwide Children’s in honor of Lauryn “Lu” Oliphant, a North student who died of leukemia in May 2016. Club Hope went the extra mile and bought a Ronald McDonald House room in remembrance of Oliphant, where her name will hang on the door forever. Beyond Club Hope, Whitcraft helps with student council, which recently put on its first winter formal dance and raised $4,000 for the Oliphant Memorial Fund. “(My students) need to see the hard work it takes to organize and follow through with a fundraiser and the benefits it provides,” Whitcraft says. “No act of kindness is too small. Everything we work to fundraise and organize will help families in the community.”

While learning ASL in high school, Whitcraft says she “couldn’t get enough of it,” and her teacher, Lori Williams, saw the dedication. When Whitcraft decided to go to Bowling Green State University to study special education and ASL, Williams struck a deal: Obtain a degree, and Whitcraft could interview for Williams’ position. “We kept in contact the whole time (I was in college),” Whitcraft says. “I went through all the steps, interviewed and did all that stuff … and the next school year, I got the job, and she gave me the reins.” Juggling work, guiding a student organization and finding perWhitcraft says Williams pushed her, guided her and always sonal time may be overwhelming, but Whitcraft says she couldn’t encouraged her to do her best. And Williams says she is happy do any of this without the help of the school and entire staff. Whitcraft has helped the program grow.



“The support is wonderful; (with) all my crazy ideas the principal is like, ‘OK, yup,’” she says with a laugh. “And the teachers here are amazing. They’re really good about spreading the word about different fundraisers and getting the kids involved.” But Whitcraft’s biggest support system has always been her family. When she and her husband, Joe, aren’t at soccer or baseball games for their two children, Samantha and Owen, they’re working on fundraising events at which Whitcraft can teach a lesson on giving back. RELATED READS “Without (my family), I wouldn’t be doing any of this, cause they support me 100 percent,” she says. “I want my kids to eventually see that you have to give back, you have to pay • Shadowbox’s ASL translators it forward.” • North Club Hope president Lydia Freudenberg is a contributing editor. Feedback welcome at • More on Ronald McDonald House • Memorial service for Lu Oliphant

• Orthopedic Surgery • Spine Surgery • Neurology


• Podiatry • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Photos courtesy of Sarah Whitcraft

“Without (my family), I wouldn’t be doing any of this, because they support me 100 percent. I want my kids to eventually see that you have to give back, you have to pay it forward.”


ST. JUDE DISCOVER t h e DRE AM Thursday, May 17, 2018 • 6 p.m. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 4850 W. Powell Road • Powell, OH

©2018 ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Cocktails | Dinner Live & Silent Auctions | Patient Speaker Fine Cuisine Courtesy of Catering by Cox and Preston Catering

Tickets: $175 | Table of 10: $1,750

Sponsorships Available St. Jude patient Julie, age 5 optic glioma 614.947.3900

in focus By Brenda Layman

Live Long and Prosper Abigayle O’Neil, North, Class of 2017 I’m not sure of the exact number of graduates, but I know it was over 300. That’s for sure. I am now studying early childhood education at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and loving it. My advice to the class of 2018 is to take as many pictures as you can between now and going to college. They will be what you look at when you get homesick at school. Also, enjoy as many homecooked meals as you can.

Janelle Guirreri, Central, Class of 2004 Abigayle O’Neil 18

There were 656 students in my class. I teach general music at Violet and Pickerington elementary schools. This is

my first year of teaching in the Pickerington Local School District. Before that, I taught in Columbus for nine years. There are three parts to my advice for this year’s graduates. First impressions count. So many connections from college have helped me in my career. Always do your best, because you never know what lies ahead. Unexpected opportunities may come your way because you showed someone that you were professional and capable. Don’t forget to check in with your parents. They will become your friends. Celebrate the small things. Life gets tougher. Now is the time for you to try new things and meet people you never thought you would be friends with. You don’t know what the job market will be in the future. Prepare yourself to be flexible.

Photo courtesy of Abigayle O’Neal

Pickerington graduates give advice for the class of 2018

and sacrifice. Make sure you always have working that plan, learn from your misyourself covered. Seek out advice from takes, and just keep on working. successful people. We had a lot of mentors, and we’ve followed their advice. Be humble and ready to soak up knowledge. Read and watch videos. Know that there will be setbacks. Be ready to pivot, with skills and tools that carry forward when things change. Keep filling your toolbox and see what sticks. Keep evolving.

Janelle Guirreri Anita LeGrand

Jason Diehl, Class of 1997

Photos by Mark Layman

There were 497 in my graduating class. I am an entrepreneur. My wife, Jen, and I own two Pickerington-based ecommerce businesses Ritzy Rose and Vintage Diehls. We just passed seven years with our businesses. I do everything. I’m the accountant, the photographer, the web designer and the chief worker who gets things packaged and out the door. Jen is the buyer and designer. We have had to pivot away from having a storefront, changing our products so that we sell what people want to buy and things that we can package and ship efficiently. My advice for graduating students is to dream big and plan well. A lot of people dream big, but they don’t make good plans. We always knew we wanted to work for ourselves. We discovered that it takes a lot of planning, discipline

Jason Diehl

Anita LeGrand, Class of 1958

Kevin Strait

Kevin Strait, Class of 1978

There were 23 in my class. Our school was in the building that is now Heritage Elementary School. It was the only school building, and there were 300 kids in grades 1 through 12. I have been retired for 18 years. I worked in the finance department of the Ohio Department of Transportation for 27 years. Before that, I worked in private industry. I lived in California for five years, but I missed my small town and came back. I thought about my advice for the class of 2018. That’s a hard one to answer. The classes are so large now that it’s hard to know everyone. Don’t let go of your youthful friendships. Try to stay close and stay in touch. Most of my classmates and I are still together. Friendships and relationships have meant everything to my age group. This was a farming community. We didn’t have people who lived right next door to us. Our school was a closeknit group. This is the 60th year for our class. We still have so much in common and so much to talk about. We don’t talk about old age. Even the ones who don’t live here join us when they come to town. We make sure they know that we are getting together. Regardless of what you do in life, enjoy it. Take time to make friends. Take time for family. Time gets away oh so fast.

There were 163 in my graduating class. I am a Realtor who works in both residential and commercial real estate and in land development. I think that new graduates are probably wondering, “How can I be successful?” You go out into the world and you treat other people the way you would like to be treated. Always be honest and hardworking. I believe I once heard Rita Ricketts say, “Plan your work and work your plan,” and I think that is great advice. A lot of people don’t take the time to plan. There is so much going on in life, that maybe they just forget to plan. Learn from your failures. I’ve probably learned more from my failures than from my successes. We live in a society today where there is a lot of “someone Brenda Layman is a contributing should hand it to me,” and if they don’t writer. Feedback welcome at gbishop@ get it, they look on it as failure, when, re- ally, they just need to work at it. Figure out what it is you want. Make a plan, start


By Alex Curran-Cardarelli


ickerington Local Schools has long encouraged students to choose their own paths to figure out their plans after graduation, but the district’s new online pathway tool offers them more autonomy than ever before. For the 2017-18 school year, Pickerington created an exploratory, online pathway tool to help each high school student choose a curriculum that best fits his or her interests. The goal of this multidimensional system is to assist students in their preparation for college and career early on. “This (tool) is not putting pressure on kids to choose a path. I would flip the coin and say the goal is to create excitement about their future,” says Maggie Buckley, curriculum coor20

dinator for the district’s teaching and learning department. Dean Sabetta, Pickerington’s college and career readiness instructional coach, adds that the pathways encourage students to take chances in their studies without any fear of getting behind. “It allows kids to take a risk,” Sabetta says. “If a kid decides they don’t want to continue on this path, they’re not behind the eight-ball because the courses they are taking fulfill the necessary school requirements.” The online “Course and Pathway Selection” tool allows students to take the John Holland RIASEC model survey, which matches a student’s personality type to an appropriate career. For example, if one chooses “Artistic” as one’s personality type, one is brought to a page that

Pickerington schools use technology and career pathways to better prepare students

Photos courtesy of Pickerington Local Schools

Passions to Pathways

Above and opposite page: Pickerington high school students participate in the district’s engineering and robotics programs. Left: Ridgeview STEM Junior High School students are introduced to computer coding.

defines an “artist,” and then offered three different informal course pathways that concentrate on music, visual design or architecture, with a mapped-out curriculum plan for all four years in all five subjects. Further into the site is a detailed page of each profession, showing the “likes” and “dislikes” and suggested corresponding college majors.

Buckley and Sabetta emphasize that these informal pathways are only suggestions, serving as a guide to promote conversation and a meaningful course selection process. On the “Program of Studies” tool, students can learn more about Pickerington’s formal pathways. These pathways range from marketing to biomedical engineer-

ing, offering a variety of opportunities for students, Buckley says. Following one of these pathways can allow a student to graduate with an associate’s degree, hours of college credit, an honors diploma or even just a significant experience in a field of his or her choosing. Though the pathways have a wealth of benefits, Sabetta stresses that they are by no means required. “It’s about starting the conversation and making them aware of their options,” he says. Nevertheless, preparing students for the future is crucial for Pickerington’s high schools, Buckley says. “It’s urgent. It’s a priority,” she says. “It’s something we’re passionate about.” Pickerington schools encourage discussion about college and careers starting at the middle school level. However, Sabetta points out that they’re “kids, not cattle,” and explains that the district wants 21

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“It allows kids to take a risk,” Sabetta says. “If a kid decides they don’t want to continue on this path, they’re not behind the eight-ball because the courses they are taking fulfill the necessary school requirements.” to provoke conversations, not force kids into definitive paths. College- and career-oriented curricula were first pushed by the parents, then taken on by staff with full force. Now, with this new online tool, the students are taking part in the fun. “Kids who have seen this (tool) have been really excited about it,” Sabetta says. “It’s very interactive and very visual.” The interactive curriculum pathway tool is only the beginning for Pickerington’s latest initiative to prepare students for their future. Pressing forward, the district hopes to add computer science as another pathway option. Officials also hope to ramp up community engagement to help provide students with more handson field experience. “Ultimately, it’s about giving kids opportunities to prepare them for college and a career,” says David Ball, district public relations director. With the online tool, curriculum pathway options and a heavy focus on discussions, Buckley likes to think that Pickerington is on “the cutting edge” of college and career preparation, she says. Alex Curran-Cardarelli is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at gbishop@

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YOU... 2018

Make your voice heard!


Vote for Columbus’ best arts, entertainment, food and events for CityScene Magazine’s annual Best of the ‘Bus!

Voting is open through April 15! Winners will be featured in the July issue of CityScene.

student spotlight

By Bianca Wilson Student Spotlight features a student from a different area high school in every issue.

Sky High Ambitions Central senior looks to a future above the clouds


sports and just really set more of a life goal of education, family and being a stronger student.” Cubra plans to double major in math and aeronautical engineering, and hopes to fly and design jets in the future. This experience also made him appreciate game time even more. As captain of the soccer team this year, Cubra says the

Photos courtesy of Cameron Cubra


or most high school students, senior year is filled with excitement, anticipation and decisions about the future. For Pickerington High School Central senior Cameron Cubra, that future is exceptionally bright. The Pickerington Central National Honor Society vice president has already been recruited for football by Carnegie Mellon University, offered the Morrill Scholarship to The Ohio State University, and been accepted by both the United States Air Force Academy and Naval Academy, and is awaiting a decision from Princeton. “I’m leaning towards Air Force right now,” Cubra says, adding, “I’m going to wait on my decision from Princeton before I decide.” It is the trials of his past that have shaped his attitude toward the future. In ninth grade, he broke his tibia and fibula in a sledding accident, sidelining him from both football and soccer. “I learned that I could do other stuff in my time,” he says. “It helped me realize I probably wasn’t going to go to college for

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thing he loves most is the teamwork and being on the field with his best friends. When it comes to kicking for the football team, which took the state championship this year, he says “I’m happy that I get the opportunity to go onto the field and possibly make a difference in the game.” Cubra also devotes volunteer time to Superhero Soccer, Seton Parish’s youth leadership program and Central’s Sunny Side Up program. Bianca Wilson is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at gbishop@


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By Laura Baird

Hopping Forward

Chocolate Hop evolves into Mayfest in 2018

Ingredients 24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels 32 oz. butterscotch morsels 32 oz. peanuts or mixed nuts


Instructions Melt packages of semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels and butterscotch morsels. Add peanuts/mixed nuts after melting. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let them cool completely. Yields approximately 300.

Mountain Chocolate Factory candy from Pickerington’s Chamber of Commerce and the book-shaped chocolates the library hands out.” Mayfest will include a brand-new art component in its inaugural year. Columbus Street will be closed in Pickerington Village, and art vendors will line the streets with booths and tents. “We wanted to add this art component because we have a large art community and thought adding this to the Chocolate Hop would be interesting and get more people involved,” says Portier.

Photos courtesy of Peggy Portier and Picktown Art Works


ebration, slated for May 12. The event will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and the Chocolate Hop will take place from noon-2 p.m. As part of the Chocolate Hop, visitors can make charitable donations at downtown businesses, in the process obtaining maps of Pickerington Village. They can then make their way around to each of the participating businesses, receiving a sweet treat. Beauty salons, boutiques, libraries and more will continue to participate in this year. “Each stop is different, giving visitors a small chocolate treat along the way,” says Portier. “In the Chocolate Peanut Clusters past, participants loved the Rocky Courtesy Sandy Melillo, The Hair Boutique

here’s far more than just chocolate to this year’s Chocolate Hop in Pickerington. In fact, there’s a whole festival orbiting around it this year. The Chocolate Hop, a fundraiser created to raise money for local charitable organizations, dates back to 2011. “This idea came about from my love of chocolate, and I have been the coordinator every year,” says Peggy Portier, Pickerington Village Association member. In 2018, the Chocolate Hop will be part of Pickerington’s new Mayfest cel-

Items from Picktown Art Works

Dana Bower – owner of the Art Gallery of Pickerington, located at Massage Therapy of Ohio on Refugee Road – is helping Portier with the art component and will have her own booth promoting the Art Gallery. Bower is also looking to schedule musical acts and food vendors for Mayfest. Desirae DeBellis and Amy Smith of Picktown Art Works will also showcase art at Mayfest. Their production pottery, mosaics and custom stained glass will be displayed in their booth and available for purchase. Also helping Portier with the event, they are looking for more vendors to fill Columbus Street. “We’re still in the process of finding craft vendors,” says DeBellis. “We’re looking for woodworking and mixed media vendors from all around Ohio.” Organizers hope the new event will be a further draw to Pickerington Village and the city in general. “These additions will expand the opportunities and interest among community members and the festival as a whole,” says Portier. “We are very excited to add the art component this May.” Laura Baird is a contributing writer. Feecback welcome at gbishop@

In 2018, the Chocolate Hop will be part of Pickerington’s new Mayfest celebration, slated for May 12. The event will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and the Chocolate Hop will take place from noon-2 p.m. DEFINING & REFINING LIFE...

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Around Pickerington Want your snapshots to appear in print? Send your high-resolution photos to along with your name and a caption! Annual Awards Celebration & Silent Auction Feb. 9 Photos courtesy of Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce

Pickerington Senior Center Valentine’s Luncheon Feb. 20 Photos courtesy of Janice Thomas


Rockin’ to Beat Leukemia Feb. 24 Photos courtesy of JPG Media

Students of the Stage

Camp Details

Registration: Began March 1, caps at 60 students Camp dates: June 11-16 Location: Epiphany Lutheran Church, 268 Hill Rd. Cost: $120 for the entire week Further Questions: call 614-5080036 or email

Pickerington Community Theatre’s summer camp offers acting experience By Laura Cole

Photos courtesy of Pickerington Community Theatre


spiring thespians of Pickerington can take heart. Even when school is out, there are opportunities for young actors to hone their craft. Every year, Pickerington Community Theatre hosts Missoula Children’s Theatre for a summer camp. A total of 60 students, grades 1-12, are invited to break out of their comfort zones and perform this year’s musical rendition of Robin Hood with a set and full costumes. “The kids get to experience the entire process in preparing for and performing in a show,” says Pickerington Community Theatre President Chris Gallaugher. “There is rehearsal and direction on act-

camp’s six skilled instructors will run a variety of workshops from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for the rest of the week to help the students prepare for their two public performances of Robin Hood on June 16. The goal is for children to leave camp with not only a solid understanding of theater but also skills that will assist them throughout their lives. “MCT strives to use participation in the performing arts as a vehicle to develop life skills including social skills, communication skills, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, an understanding of the team concept and self-esteem,” Gallaugher says.

ing, singing and technical theater, as well as theater crafts and performance instruction. The camp can benefit those that have never been in an actual show – (it’s) a great way to get their feet wet – as well as those with some experience.” Laura Cole is a contributing writer. This year’s camp begins June 11 with Feedback welcome at gbishop@ low-stress, open group auditions. The

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Submitted by the Staff of Pickerington Public Library

Learn at your library!

Money Smart Week is back! From April 21-28, visit all locations of the Pickerington Public Library for free programs that will help you learn how to save. We’re excited to announce our fifth annual comic extravaganza, the Pickerington Comic Fest. Held May 5, 10 a.m.5 p.m., the show is growing and will be spectacular – and for the whole family. Artists, comics, gaming, cosplay, food trucks, panel discussions, hands-on workshops, kids’ activities and much more are on the schedule. for more information.  

Children’s picture book

What’s Next Door? By Nicola O’Byrne

The crocodile from Open Very Carefully is back, and in this new book, Carter the Crocodile is lost and needs your help. This book has the reader really involved and actively helping Carter find his way home.  Along with Nicola O’Byrne, there are other authors who write similar fun interactive books.  

School age/tween interest

Get Coding: Learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and Build a Website, App, and Game

From Young Rewired State Have you mastered coding with Scratch? Ready to move onto something harder? Pick up Get Coding and dive deeper into the world of computer coding. You will use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to complete missions and build a website, app and game.  

Teen interest

Dear Martin By Nic Stone

In order to cope with his experiences of racial injustice, including an incident in which he is put in handcuffs for trying to prevent his exgirlfriend from driving while drunk, African-American teen Justyce McAllister keeps a journal in which he writes to Martin Luther King, Jr. This debut novel is an important and very relevant book about the current African-American experience.

Pickerington Teen Book Fest is back! Save the date for Saturday, Oct. 27. Join us at the Main Library to meet young adult authors, attend panels and get your books signed. 30

Teen interest

Batman: Nightwalker, By Marie Lu Runaways: an Orginal Novel,

By Christopher Golden

Superhero novelizations have become increasingly popular in teen fiction. Among the most recent examples are Batman: Nightwalker by bestselling teen author Marie Lu and Runaways by Christopher Golden. Both are great choices for fans of the DC and Marvel film and television franchises and of superhero comic books in general. If you enjoy Runaways, make sure to check out the new television series of the same name on Hulu.

Adult interest


By Tara Westove This powerful memoir chronicles the author’s experience as a child growing up in remote Idaho, where her parents kept their family secluded and the children separate from any knowledge of the outside world – a life Westover was eventually able to leave behind once she entered college, where she ultimately obtained a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Her heartbreaking story is a testament to a curious reader’s perseverance.

Adult interest

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks By Annie Spence

Whether you love them or hate them, some books stay with you forever. This is the lively, hilarious story of one librarian’s life in books. Annie Spence takes the reader on a tour of her own library stacks to explore the good, the bad and the truly unforgettable. This book is a delight for avid readers whose lives Pickerington Public Library have been shaped by books – and Main who love to peek 201 Opportunity Way at other people’s Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. reading selections. Saturday/Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday 1-5 p.m. Sycamore Plaza Library 7861 Refugee Rd. Monday-Thursday noon-7 p.m. Saturday/Sunday noon-6 p.m. Sunday closed

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Profile for CityScene Media Group

Pickerington Magazine April/May 2018  

Pickerington Magazine April/May 2018