__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

ENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UN Gianna Miranda Merlo Bugos TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY Brooklyn Najah RElam 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDERMullenax 20 TWE Emma Lauren DER 20 TW O’Connell Fife 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER Riana Brooke UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER Rathburn Frazzini Zachary Mallory ENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UN Scher Greenamyer TWENTY Jacob Chloe UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY Snelson Harris R 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWE Sydney Jeffrey Jiang DER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDERTenney 20 TW Carla Justin UNDER UNDER Thigpen Jones 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY Destinee Kate UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY ENTY UN Toth Li TWENTY TWENTY GabriellaUNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 Matthew Vencel LoCastro R 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWENTY UNDER 20 TWE Twenty Under 20 / 2020

1


CONGRATULATIONS TO TS YEAR'S Twenty Under 20 Winners!

WE ARE OFFERING

EACH OF THESE Miranda Bugos, Niles McKinley STUDENTS Najah Elam, Warren G. Harding AFULL-TUITION FOUR-YEAR Lauren Fife, Champion SCHOLARSHI TO Brooke Frazzini, Mathews KENT STATE TRUMBULL! Mallory Greenamyer, Hubbard Chloe Harris, Warren G. Harding Jeffrey Jiang, Lakeview Justin Jones, Case Western Reserve niversity Kate Li, Howland Gabrielle LoCastro, Girard Gianna Merlo, Howland Brooklyn Mullena-, Bristol Emma O’Connell, McDonald Riana Rathburn, Maplewood Zachary Scher, Champion Jacob Snelson, Howland Sydney Tenney, Warren G. Harding Carla Thigpen, Niles McKinley Destinee Toth, Warren G. Harding Matthew encel, Warren G. Harding 2

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

R


Recognizing Trumbull’s best Eight years have passed since the Tribune Chronicle thought it fitting to publicly recognize the youngest and most impressive leaders in Trumbull County. The Twenty Under 20 program, co-sponsored by Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and Kent State University at Trumbull, shines a bright spotlight on 20 high-achieving individuals younger than 20 for

their leadership skills through volunteerism, extracurricular activities and academic achievements. On the pages of this magazine are in-depth profiles and pictures of the 20 teens chosen for the honor this year. They join an already long and outstanding list of past winners. This year’s winners are just as remarkable and awe inspiring. Read all

Miranda Bugos �������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Najah Elam �������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Lauren Fife �������������������������������������������������������������������� 7 Brooke Frazzini ������������������������������������������������������������� 8 Mallory Greenamyer ���������������������������������������������������� 9 Chloe Harris ���������������������������������������������������������������� 10 Jeffrey Jiang ������������������������������������������������������������������ 11 Justin Jones ������������������������������������������������������������������ 13 Kate Li �������������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 Gabriella LoCastro ����������������������������������������������������� 16

about what makes them special in the pages ahead. Though the year 2020 has been tough on most people, seeing how these young leaders still managed to make difference in the world should inspire hope in us all. To the Twenty Under 20 Class of 2020 — congratulations! Your achievements in and out of school make Trumbull County proud.

Gianna Merlo �������������������������������������������������������������� Brooklyn Mullenax ����������������������������������������������������� Emma O’Connell �������������������������������������������������������� Riana Rathburn ����������������������������������������������������������� Zachary Scher ������������������������������������������������������������� Jacob Snelson �������������������������������������������������������������� Sydney Tenney ������������������������������������������������������������ Carla Thigpen ������������������������������������������������������������� Destinee Toth �������������������������������������������������������������� Matthew Vencel ����������������������������������������������������������

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

18 20 21 22 24 26 27 28 30 32

3


Miranda Bugos I’ve met a lot of new people and made new friends, and I love helping out around my community.” Miranda, 17

By ANDY GRAY Staff writer

M

iranda Bugos is an honor student, active in extracurriculars — and a quick-change artist. The 17-year-old senior at Niles McKinley High School is both a cheerleader and a member of the marching band, requiring a fast transition. “I cheer for the first and start of the second quarter,” she said. “In the middle of the second, I go to the band and get ready to perform for halftime, then cheer for the rest of the game. They’re two activities that I really enjoy doing ever since I was a little kid. I knew in high school I

wanted to do both.” Bugos is used to juggling multiple activities. It’s one of the reasons Julie Strollo, a counselor at Niles McKinley, nominated her for the Tribune Chronicle’s 20 Under Twenty award. “Miranda is involved with a lot of activities,” Strollo said. “I find her to be unique in going from cheerleading to band. The next day, I may be at the mall and she’s there volunteering for Key Club, and if you go to the church I go to (Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Niles), you’ll see her as a servant, an altar girl. I see her in so many areas doing good things.” Academically, Bugos has a 3.96 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society. She also is taking calculus and statistics as part of Youngstown State

University’s College In High School program. Bugos is president of Key Club and has completed more service hours than anyone in her class.

“She’s our president right now and that’s a huge undertaking,” Strollo said. “On top of all those other activities, she had the most service hours.” Key Club is one of her favorite activities. “I had been a part of a community service group at church,” she said. “Going into high school, I wanted to continue to help out more in the community, and I heard about it (Key Club) through a friend. I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve met a lot of new people and made new friends, and I love helping out around my community.” She would like to turn helping others into a career. She hopes to attend The Ohio State University and major in biomedical engineering. The idea was inspired by attending dance competitions, learning about dancers with cancer and seeing performers dance and compete with missing limbs. “I want to help them out by making prosthetics,” she said. “This

Congratulations Miranda We are proud of you! We love you very much! Your Family 4

Twenty Under 20 / 2020


year I’m in all math- and science-based classes to prepare me for engineering.” Dance also is one of the areas in which Bugos puts her leadership skills to use by working with the younger students and setting an example. “I show them they can do it no matter how they’re feeling. I show them it can be done by how much I’m involved in.” agray@tribtoday.com

“I may be at the mall and she’s there volunteering for Key Club, and if you go to the church I go to, you’ll see her as a ser vant, an altar girl. I see her in so many areas doing good things.” — Julie Strollo, a counselor at Niles McKinley, nominated Bugos

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWENTY UNDER 20 WINNERS WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE MIRANDA BUGOS & CARLA THIGPEN REPRESENT NILES MCKINLEY HIGH SCHOOL.

Niles City Schools Faculty, Staff & Administration

Miranda Bugos

Carla Thigpen Twenty Under 20 / 2020

5


Najah Elam “I’ve been able to help younger kids with their school work and help them narrow what they may want to do in life.” Najah, 17

By RAYMOND L. SMITH Staff writer

N

ajah Elam, 17, said she knew since she was 11 years old she wanted to be a neurosurgeon. “I watched Grey’s Anatomy when I was little,” said Elam, a senior at Warren G. Harding High School. “I want to work on human brains.” Elam has been laser focused on achieving that goal. She has been striving to make sure she is prepared by carefully making choices in her classes to create a foundation that has allowed her to climb each step higher. “I’ve made sure I took the AP level math courses and college level calculus courses,” Elam said. “When the courses were hard, especially with the chemistry and calculus courses, I asked for tutoring help.” Describing herself as naturally shy and introverted, Elam works to place herself into programs and situations that force her to interact with others. Elam, who joined Inspiring Minds while in middle school, served on student council in her sophomore, junior and senior years, including a year as vice president in 11th grade, and was a member of the school’s robotics team for the same three years. On the team, she was head scouter her junior year. As a member of Inspiring Minds, she planned meetings and helped other members with the work. Also, she helped with Hunger Helpers to provide food to families who need it. “Working with Inspiring Minds has allowed me to give back to others,” she said. “I’ve been able to help younger kids with their school work and help them narrow what they may want to do in life.” This year, she was co-captain of the marching band’s flagline, which she belonged to since she was a sophomore. 6 Twenty Under 20 / 2020

In addition, she’s been a member of concert and symphonic band for three years, being third chair in 10th grade and first chair in 11th grade. It’s these attributes in addition to her academic excellence that make Elam part of the Tribune Chronicle’s 2020 Class of Twenty Under 20, a program that recognizes the best young leaders in Trumbull County. She was nominated for the program by Sue Mizik, Harding guidance counselor. “Najah has a work ethic that would overwhelm a lot of other people,” Mizik wrote. “She has a rigorous course load, but handles it with trademark ease and quiet, yet strong sense of self.” “Najah has a work ethic that would According to overwhelm a lot of other people.” Mizik, the teen as a junior took AP — Sue Mizik, Harding guidance counselor chemistry and trigonometry and activities naturally,” Mizik wrote. “She college algebra for college credit at Eastern Gateway respects the integrity and individuality Community College. As a senior, she of others and earns respect in return. is taking AP government and politics, Najah will be successful wherever her Spanish language and culture and calcu- journey leads and I look forward to seelus at EGCC. ing where he path takes her.” Elam “rises to leadership in these rsmith@tribtoday.com


Lauren Fife “I really enjoy spending the time with the kids at the elementary school and also with the senior citizens.” Lauren, 18

By BOB COUPLAND Staff writer

W

hen she isn’t helping senior citizens in the community, Champion High School senior Lauren Fife is working with elementary school children. Fife, 18, was nominated by her mother, Marla Fife, for the Tribune Chronicle’s Twenty Under 20 award. In her junior year in high school, Lauren Fife was nominated by a school official to attend the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards retreat at the Avalon Inn. “This is a highly selective process as she was one of 106 juniors in our Rotary’s district selected to attend,” said Marla Fife. During the two-and-a-half day event, Lauren and others participated in a variety of workshops and exercises that helped develop their leadership skills. Activities were run by adult facilitators from the business community and

focused on developing one’s own strengths. “The conference made an impact on her level of confidence and has given her the tools to succeed for years to come, both personally and professionally,” Marla Fife said. Lauren also demonstrated leadership ability when she organized a Super Bowl party for the residents of an assisted living facility. This was a service project Lauren led that contributed to her service hour requirements for National H o n o r Society. Lauren created the agenda, and with the help of a few friends, organized and led

“The conference made an impact on her level of confidence and has given her the tools to succeed for years to come, both personally and professionally.” — Marla Fife, Lauren’s mother

the participants in games and assembled goodie bags as prizes. “I was really happy to be nominated. It was a great honor that someone thought of me. I love helping people and it feels really good to know I helped make someone’s life better,” Fife said. She said it feels “amazing” to help people. “It feels great to be able to give back and help people who need help more than I do,” she said. Fife said she also dedicates her time to helping elementary-age children. “I really enjoy spending

the time with the kids at the elementary school and also with the senior citizens,” she said. Fife is also active with other groups at school, including Champion Teens Care, Interact, STEM Club, student council and Evirothon. Fife also has earned 25 college credits to date and will graduate next spring with six college credit hours. She is a student council representative and National Honor Society junior year inductee. Fife has been on the school’s honor roll every nine weeks since freshman year. bcoupland@tribtoday.com

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

7


Brooke Frazzini “I was like, I’m the oldest, I’m going to be the leader.” Brooke, 18

By ASHLEY FOX Staff writer

O

riginally from Girard, Brooke Frazzini, 18, said peers were nominated for a Twenty Under 20 award, and it was a goal she wanted to achieve herself. After transferring to the Mathews Local School District as a sophomore, she found the program wasn’t as recognized as it was at the larger school district. “I think this is the coolest thing ever, but coming from a small school, maybe more people will realize they can have an opportunity like this,” Brooke said. She was nominated by her mother, Jennifer Frazzini, who described Brooke as “selfless.” “When you think of the term ‘leader,’ you think of Brooke. Her leadership is shown through her community service efforts, her grades, her accomplishments, her selflessness and her ability to always help out,” Jennifer Frazzini said of her daughter. Brooke has a take-charge attitude. For example, at school the cheerleading squad doesn’t use the term “captain,” but a leader was needed. Brooke decided to step up and lead the way. “I was like, I’m the oldest, I’m going to be the leader,” she said.

8

Brooke is familiar with leading a squad, and has each year of high school, her mom said. And she’s won awards in cheer and the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award through the Ohio High School Athletic Association. She uses her enthusiasm and experience to help younger cheerleaders achieve their goals. The 17-year-old senior has donated time working election polls, leading the youth ministry group, and helping with Sunday school at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and food donation efforts, among other volunteer activities. Brooke belongs to the art club, Spanish club and is a member of the National Honors Society. These activities, along with maintaining a 3.9 grade point average and taking college classes at Youngstown State University make her parents proud, her mother wrote.

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

“As a parent, we receive calls from her teachers constantly telling us about her leadership and how driven she is in the classroom,” Jennifer Frazzini stated. Brooke has volunteered with elementary school children, with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics and the Red Cross blood drives. Science is one of Brooke’s favorite subjects. She said she finds the topics interesting. When she graduates, Brooke plans on taking

“When you think of the term ‘leader,’ you think of Brooke. Her leadership is shown through her community service efforts, her grades, her accomplishments, her selflessness and her ability to always help out,.” — Jennifer Frazzini, Brooke’s mother

pre-medical classes or nursing classes. Between all of her extracurricular activities and volunteering opportunities, Brooke manages to work two jobs, at American Eagle and her school’s athletic department. afox@tribtoday.com

CONGRATULATIONS BROOKE! Mathews Board of Education and Administration


Mallory Greenamyer “I’m a very crafty person. I thought this would be a good idea while not being face-to-face with senior citizens.” Mallory, 17

By ASHLEY FOX Staff writer

B

eing a leader is something that wasn’t always the norm for Mallory Greenamyer. “When I was little, I didn’t feel like much of a leader, the Twenty Under 20 award recipient said. But as time went on, Mallory, 17, became more outgoing along the way. Fast-forward to present day, when Mallory is a Link Crew Leader at Hubbard High School, helping freshmen transition into high school. Mallory joined to make friends and get to know freshmen. And, she is filling a role as mentor, something she wishes she had when she entered high school. “I think it would have definitely helped me transition into high school,” she said. Mallory has also served as a student council representative for three years and is the senior year class historian.

“While serving on student council, Mallory has listened to the concerns of her classmates and worked diligently with school administrators to address the needs and desires of the student body that she represents,” said her school guidance counselor and nominator, Toni Haidaris. When she’s not mentoring, Mallory volunteers regularly at a local animal shelter. “On a weekly basis, she volunteers her time at a local animal shelter. She cleans the pens for the cats and dogs that live there and gives them much needed love and attention. Mallory has a big heart and although she cannot take these animals home, she wants to make a difference in their lives and promote the importance of volunteering,” Haidaris said. Her volunteering doesn’t end there. Mallory loves crafts, and wanted to find a new way to volunteer during the pandemic. She decided to make “Thinking of You” cards for senior citizens in local nursing homes. “I’m a very crafty person,” she

said. “I thought this would be a good idea while not being face-to-face with senior citizens.” Haidaris nominated Mallory because she possesses what it takes to be a leader. “I firmly believe that she is a deserving candidate and embodies the characteristics that (the Twenty Under 20) award exemplifies,” Haidaris stated. The nomination means a lot to Mallory. “I’m really happy I got nominated,” she said. “I try to be a kind person above all.” Maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, Mallory is on a list to be named valedictorian in the spring. When she graduates, she sees herself attending Kent State University, where she will major in architecture. Once she is established in her career, Mallory said she sees herself leading a team at her own firm. In her downtime, Mallory enjoys rocking out to music from the 1980s and spending time with her family. afox@tribtoday.com

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

9


Chloe Harris “Being nice to others is something I’ve always believed we all should do, because it is the right thing to do.” Chloe, 17

By RAYMOND L. SMITH Staff writer

C

As a senior, Harris already has completed the majority of her required classes. She has a cumulative GPA of 4.081. During her four years at Harding, Harris has been either in the marching or the symphonic band, as well as taken advanced level science, English, history and math courses. This year, Harris is taking college-level history and writing courses. Her parents encouraged Harris, as well as her siblings, to be self-motivated in everything they do, especially academically. “I’ve always felt that getting good grades will eventually allow me to do whatever I want to do in life,” she said. “So I push myself. Working hard now will allow me to go to any college I want, get the kind of job I want or start my own business. I will be able to buy the kind of house and the car I want. I want nice things.” Because of the lessons she learned at home and in church, Harris often has found herself as president or vice president in the numerous activities in which she participates. Patsy Kouvas, vice chair of AVI Foodsystems and a mentor for Inspiring Minds, describes watching Harris’ growth during her past six years with the program. “From the moment she joined Inspiring Minds, I saw many great qualities in her. She is outgoing, thoughtful, honest, courageous and respectful,” Kouvas said. “Chloe has an exceptional work ethic, is extremely intelligent and holds a high level of responsibility and accountability for

hloe Harris, 17, plans to study animal science and zoology at Ohio State University when she graduates in May from Warren G. Harding High School. “I’ve always loved animals,” Harris said. She is bright and energetic, and enjoys making people laugh. Harris participates in Inspiring Minds, Harding’s Key Club, Interact Club, marching band, Relay For Life and is a four-year member of the National Honors Society. She also is part of Hunger Helper. “Of everything I do, I love being a majorette the most,” Harris said. “I love twirling the baton. I didn’t want to do it at first, but I worked at it and now I love it.” The last school year — with in-building classes ending in March due to the coronavirus pandemic — was difficult for the outgoing teen because she enjoys her classmates and working with others. However, she has been able to do well working independently at home. “I always liked working in the community,” she said. “I want to do things to make it better. I am motivated to do more to help others. Being nice to others is something I’ve always believed we all should do, because it is the right thing to do.” 10 Twenty Under 20 / 2020

her actions.” Deryck Toles, founder and chief executive officer of Inspiring Minds, adds that Harris is a natural leader. Toles described Harris visiting more than 50 colleges and companies over the years as she narrowed down what she desires to do when she graduates from Harding. “She loves Warren and wants to become successful so she can give back in a bigger way,” Toles said. “Chloe led many of our community service initiatives, from neighborhood cleanups and beautification projects, holiday food and clothing drives to participating in Hunger Helpers, which facilitated nutrition classes and delivered fresh produce to low-income communities.” She has logged more than 100 volunteer hours working with Inspiring Minds.

Congratulations Chloe

We love you and are so proud of you. The sky is the limit Baby Girl! Love, Mom, Dad, Celeste & Wayne Jr.

“I think it is important to take risks,” she said. “Sometimes I do things I don’t want to just to push myself in areas I’m not comfortable. It is what I did when I joined the majorettes. I was nervous going in front of people, but now I love twirling my baton during performances.” Celeste Harris, 20, a Twenty Under 20 honoree in 2017, describes her sister as determined and willing to see whatever she becomes involved in through to the end. “She is not the kind of person who can be moved from what she wants once she makes up her mind,” Celeste Harris said. rsmith@tribtoday.com

Congratulations Chloe J. Harris We are so Godly proud of you. Keep up the good work and God will continue to bless you. We love you, Bishop Emmitt Nevels Sr. & First Lady Mother Lucille Nevels


Jeffrey Jiang “I was unable to walk on my own. I was unable to bathe on my own.” Jeffrey

By ED RUNYAN Staff writer

L

akeview High School senior Jeffrey Jiang has overcome roadblocks in his life — personal and physical — but he only seems to have become stronger through each one. Jiang’s parents both died, but DeAnna and Matt Fuchilla of Bazetta have raised him as their own. His list of medical issues includes autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit disorder. He also had a severe speech impediment as a child but had “hours and hours every week in speech therapy,” he said. He appears to have overcome that, even speaking before thousands of people. There also was an issue that put him in a wheelchair for nine months in junior high and the start of high school. “I was unable to walk on my own. I was unable to bathe on my own,” Jiang said. But he did not let any of these challenges stop him, achieving top honors through the Boy Scouts of America and the National Beta Club through his school’s Senior Beta Club. His Senior Beta Club adviser at Lakeview, teacher Angela Sarko, describes Jiang as “one of the most vibrant and involved students I have ever met.”

The Beta Club is an academic honors program with emphasis on leadership and community service. It has 500,000 active members and more than 8,750 clubs. President Bill Clinton, TV journalist Diane Sawyer and professional basketball player Kevin Durant are among those who have come through Beta Club. Jiang had already learned a lot about leadership and service through the Boy Scouts when he decided to become part of the Beta Club, he said. In Boy Scouts, he reached Eagle Scout and is a member of the Order of the Arrow, which is the national honor society of scouting. He also has worked with the Boy Scouts on a council, national and regional level. But Sarko’s impression of Jiang’s accomplishments in service and leadership come from Senior Beta Club. He accomplished something in Beta that no one had ever done before in any state, Sarko said. He became Ohio Senior Beta Club president as a sophomore, the first year

Congratulations

Jeffrey Jiang WE ARE . . .

Aim for the stars! We’re all proud of you! We all love you! Love Mom & Dad Siblings & Nieces! Twenty Under 20 / 2020

11


sophomores were eligible to do so. In June 2019, as state president, he was able to attend the national Beta convention in Oklahoma City and run for national president, speaking to 18,000 people. He lost the election for national Beta president, “but I was the only officer to get a standing ovation,” he said. As Ohio Beta president, he coordinated three sessions of speakers at the Ohio Convention last February. “He didn’t miss a beat,” Sarko said of Jiang. The convention was flawless because he attends to every detail and makes sure everyone knows their role by heart,” Sarko wrote in nominating Jiang for the Tribune Chronicle’s annual Twenty Under 20 Program. To be eligible for state and national offices, club members must log leadership and service hours in their community and school. “Jeffrey has been at the top of Lakeview’s list of hours on both lists in each of his high school years,” Sarko said. “He truly helps out in all ways possible, working with several service organizations but also pitching in whenever he notices a need,” Sarko added. “Jeffrey even started an after-school game club for students who were not in any sports,” she stated. He is a strong student, earning eligibility for National Honor Society in his junior year, which is remarkable “considering all of the hurdles he has overcome,” Sarko said. “By putting himself in situations where he had to speak publicly, he gained speaking practice that most people never experience,” Sarko said. “His take-charge attitude gets things done, and he almost single-handedly raised enough money for his immediate family to attend the (national) convention and support him in his campaign efforts,” she said. He has a 3.6 GPA and has been on the honor roll every year in high school. He already runs a small company and expects to make a career in entrepreneurship. erunyan @tribtoday.com

12

Twenty Under 20 / 2020


Justin Jones “It definitely taught me to be organized and work with a group of people, not just direct them where to go, but to lead them.” Justin, 19

By ANDY GRAY Staff writer

Be compassionate to everyone” is the lesson Justin Jones learned from his younger sister, Lauren, and his work with the Down Syndrome Association of the Valley. Lauren has Down syndrome, and Jones regularly attended events with her starting in middle school. He became more and more involved and now serves as the student volunteer coordinator for the non-profit organization that provides support, resources and programming for individuals

and their families. Debbie Williams, office / program manager for the organization, nominated him for the Tribune

Chronicle’s Twenty Under 20 program and said she never has to worry about having enough volunteers with Jones in charge. “He has such great leadership skills and is so respected by everyone that they want to come along with him,” Williams said. “I love it, I just love being around the people,” Jones said, and he believes it’s been beneficial to him as well. “It definitely taught me to be organized

and work with a group of people, not just direct them where to go, but to lead them.” Jones, 19, who graduated summa cum laude from Howland High School in May with a 4.473 GPA, continued a tradition started by his older brother by getting the entire Howland football team to participate in the annual Buddy Walk of the Valley. And he brought in members of Howland’s National Honor

Congratulations Justin!

We are so proud of you! Mom, Dad & Family

Congratulations Justin! Your friends at Down Syndrome Association of the Valley

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

13


Society to work as volunteers at the event. “He’s an impressive young man,” Williams said. “He deeply believes in seeing people for their abilities rather than their disabilities.” During his time at Howland, Jones was a twoyear letter recipient in basketball, a three-year letter recipient in football and a football captain in 2019. He won the 2019 Eddie Craig Award for the highest GPA on the football team and was named to the Academic All Ohio team for football. He believes sports contributed to his academic success. “It’s kind of crazy, I’d joke my school work is actually better during the season,” he said. “It keeps me on track. When I had practice after school, I knew I had to come home and do my work.” Sports also provided an opportunity to hone his leadership skills. “At the end of the year, a couple of underclassmen came up and told me I was a role model to them,” Jones said. “That meant so much to me and told me I was doing the right things.” Jones is attending Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he is playing football and is on a pre-med track. “The one thing that really piques my interest right now is radiology, but I have to get into medical school first and after that pick something in the medical field,” he said. agray@tribtoday.com

Howland Local Schools is very proud of our

Twenty Under 20 students!

Kate Li

Jacob Snelson

Gianna Merlo

Justin Jones

Congratulations! 14

Twenty Under 20 / 2020


Kate Li “When I was growing up, I was always a caring person and put other people’s interests in front of my own and a lot of that comes from my parents.” Kate, 18

By NATHANAEL HAWTHORNE Staff writer

A

t age 18, Kate Li has excelled in school and in the community. She carries a 4.4 grade-point average as well as being heavily involved in extracurricular activities. Her biggest contribution comes from a nonprofit organization she started to promote the arts. “When I was little, I was shy and my communication skills weren’t really developed. When I started speech and debate, however, those skills developed and I found a way to express myself better,” Li said. Li is the founder and CEO of Empower Expression. The organization offers mentoring in various categories, such as public speaking, writing, music, language, design and film production. These accomplishments led to her selection for the annual Twenty Under 20 Award, sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle, Kent State University at Trumbull and Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. She was nominated by Carol Shrodek, mother of her debate team partner, who said, “It’s hard not to notice the compassion, drive and determination in Kate Li.” According to Empower Expression’s website, the organization was started to break down financial barriers for lessons in these

categories. Through this mentorship program, Li said she believes it’s a step in the right direction to help young people break away from the media-driven society that plagues her generation. “People text, email and use social media quite a bit, and through these platforms, we can’t express emotion appropriately and it’s integral for people’s lives,” Li said. “Social media puts up a filter on how people actually live their lives and projects certain expectations. The organization helps combat that issue.” The organization has expanded from its original founding in 2019 to include mentors and mentees in seven states as well as internationally. The rigorous vetting process for mentors is all completed by Li and her associates from New York. Each mentor must be extremely experienced in their respective fields.

Also, Li helps break down international barriers. One of the ways she does this is through the English Mentoring program with the Bluniverse Foreign Language School. She helps Chinese students learn English through mentoring. “When I was growing up, I was always a caring person and put other people’s interests in front of my own and a lot of that comes from my parents. They told me to take care of others and not to cause them any type of harm.”

At Howland, she serves as president of the speech and debate team, varsity team tennis captain, vice president of the National Honor Society at the school and founded the mindfulness club at the school. Li has also stood out musically. She was a National Guild Audition Winner, a seven-time philharmonic winner and won the Charlotte and W. Alfred Gray Piano Competition. nhawthorne@tribtoday.com

Congratulations Kate to the top talented piano student. Your dedication, hard work and love for music shows throughout your performances. We love you. The DiDomenico and Debiec Family Twenty Under 20 / 2020

15


Gabriella LoCastro “I’ve always been an active person and I love to be around people. I love to make people happy and I keep myself involved as much as I can. I’m pretty much in every single club in school. I’m a very social person.” Gabriella, 17

By DAVID SKOLNICK Staff writer

I

f there’s an organization, event or activity at Girard High School, there’s a good chance Gabriella LoCastro is involved. “I’ve always been an active person and I love to be around people,” said the

16

17-year-old senior, who is a Twenty Under 20 honoree. “I love to make people happy and I keep myself involved as much as I can. I’m pretty much in every single club in school. I’m a very social person.” Angela Cochran, Girard High School counselor, who nominated LoCastro for the honor, said the student “is

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

one of the most familiar faces at every event I attend. I am surprised when I do not see her at an activity or a sporting event. (She) has truly taken full advantage of all opportunities and if one is not available, she seeks out an opportunity.” Among LoCastro’s favorite activities is the “Adopt a Patient Program” through

Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care. “We see a patient and keep them company and try to make them happy,” LoCastro said. “We go to different nursing homes. Right now, they can’t see us (because of the COVID-19 pandemic) so we’re at home working on projects to remind them we care about


“I fill my time from when I get up to the time I go to bed. I always make it work. It’s been a crazy adventure with something new every day.” — Gabriella LoCastro

them.” Cochran said students in the program are supposed to meet with a patient once or twice a month, but LoCastro did it once or twice a week before COVID-19. LoCastro also participated in the program’s “Gift of a Day” in which she treated a patient to a special day in which they ate his favorite foods and did whatever he wanted. “It’s a great thing to see how happy they get and the appreciation they have for us,” she said. LoCastro made blankets for patients as well as help put together a fashion show and participated in a dance. But LoCastro does so much more. While maintaining a 3.863 grade point average, taking college courses, being on the honor roll every semester, she is also junior class president and is running for senior class president and is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, drama club, Italian club, on the yearbook staff, the dance line, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the choir and on the school’s soccer, track and cross country teams. She also volunteers for

the school’s blood drives, Special Olympics, community trick or treat and raked leaves to help community members who are unable to do so. “I like to keep myself involved in the community and make the school a better environment for everyone,” LoCastro said. So how does she find the time for it all? “That is a great question,” she said. “I fill my time from when I get up to the time I go to bed. I always make it work. It’s been a crazy adventure with something new every day.” After graduating, LoCastro plans to attend Youngstown State University and major in business. dskolnick@tribtoday.com

Congratulations Gabriella We are beyond proud of all your accomplishments We love you, Mom, Dad & Adriana

Congratulations

Gabriella LoCastro St. Rose Church Girard, Ohio

Rev. Monsignor John A. Zuraw, Pastor

Congratulations Gabriella LoCastro We are GIRARD.....Family! Taking Care of Each Other.

From the Girard Board of Education, Girard City Schools Bryan O’Hara, Superintendent Mark Bello, Treasurer Twenty Under 20 / 2020

17


Gianna Merlo “Juggling everything is hard. I try to stay organized and plan ahead.” Gianna, 17

By MARLY KOSINSKI Staff writer

G

ianna Merlo is not content to just belong to a team or organization. She strives to be a leader and demonstrates her leadership skills in school, on the soccer field and in the community at large. That is why she was nominated for the annual Twenty Under 20 Award, which is sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle, Kent State University at Trumbull and Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. Merlo, 17, a senior at Howland High School, has been a class representative all four years, and is treasurer of the Howland chapter of the National Honor Society, senior class treasurer, vice president of Italian Club, a student leader with Interact Club (a high school version of Rotary International), a leader of Pep Club, led an assembly for SMASH (Students Making a Safer Highway) and organized the recent Live Like Jacob Week to pay

tribute to Jacob Liggett, a Howland High School junior killed in a crash in October. She serves as team captain of the Howland High School girls soccer team, earning a letter all four years, as well as lettering in track her freshman, sophomore and junior years. She anchors the 400-meter relay team, and was chosen first team for the AllState Division I soccer team in 2020, first team for the AllDistrict soccer team in 2019 and 2020 and second team All District in 2018. Merlo is at the top of her class, taking advanced placement and honors classes in all her subjects. She plans to major in biology and go on to medical school. And if her classes and extracurricular activities don’t keep her busy enough, she also is a member of the Warren Juniorettes — a high school version of the Warren Junior Women’s League — for which she volunteers at the Trumbull County Dog Pound, does Christmas caroling at area hospitals and nursing homes, assists with the jelly bean fundraiser at the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, assists with an annual Easter egg hunt and various

United Way of Trumbull County projects. She also is involved at her church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Niles, as an altar server and

festival worker, and does tutoring and works as an office aide at Howland High School. “Juggling everything is hard. I try to stay organized

“Being in education for the last 30 years, I am able to identify students that have that extra IT and I would definitely say that this describes Gianna perfectly. The attributes that make her a natural leader will serve her well as she pursues the opportunity to play collegiate soccer while studying for a career in cardiothoracics. Ms. Merlo is a true leader and has many leadership accolades to prove this.” — Michael Pollifrone, Howland High School assistant principal

18

Twenty Under 20 / 2020


and plan ahead,” Merlo said of her busy schedule. She said her mother, Michelle, has volunteered for various community events since she was small, so helping out is part of her everyday life. “I feel like I’ve been volunteering since I was a little kid because I used to go with my mom,” Merlo said. She said her favorite service activity is walking the dogs at the pound. She started as part of the Warren Juniorettes, but she walks the dogs outside of the organization as well. In her down time, which isn’t much, Merlo said she enjoys cooking all kinds of different food, from Italian to Japanese. She also enjoys running and working out, as well as reading. Her favorite book is “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, which she said she has read several times. Over the summer, she worked at her uncle’s business, Giuseppe’s Italian Market, in the bakery and running the cash register. “I have worked really hard my whole life. It’s just what I do,” she said. In his nomination letter, Howland

High School assistant principal Michael Pollifrone states, “Being in education for the last 30 years, I am able to identify students that have that extra IT and I would definitely say that this describes Gianna perfectly. The attributes that make her a natural leader will serve her well as she pursues the opportunity to play collegiate soccer while studying for a career in cardiothoracics. “Ms. Merlo is a true leader and has many leadership accolades to prove this,” he wrote. mkosinski@tribtoday.com

Congratulations Gianna! We are so proud of you! Love, Dad, Mom, Isabella & Tino

Congratulations Gianna

Congratulations Gianna!

1201 Youngstown Warren Rd, Niles, OH 44446

www.merloinsurance.com

(330) 505-6400

We are so proud of all your accomplishments! Twenty Under 20 / 2020

19


Brooklyn Mullanex My cousin, Sydney Fenstermaker, was one of the winners last year, so I guess it’s in the family.” Brooklyn, 17

By BOB COUPLAND Staff writer

B

ristol High School senior Brooklyn Mullanex steps up to the plate to coordinate various fundraisers when people are facing obstacles and challenges in their lives. Mullenax, 17, was nominated for the Tribune Chronicle’s Twenty Under 20 award by her grandmother, Peg Mullenax, who said Brooklyn has helped many people over the years. “Whenever she saw a problem or someone struggling, Brooklyn has not hesitated to do all that she can to help out,” Peg said. In April 2013, after the Boston Marathon bombing, Mullenax wanted to help the victims of the bombing and raised $5,000 by selling T-shirts. Another fundraiser was when Brooklyn made duct tape wallets and other items, and sold lemonade to help a young child hurt badly in an accident involving a Bobcat skidster. “She has a big heart and is always there to help whoever is in need,” Peg said.

In 2017, a neighbor and fellow classmate’s home burned down and Mullenax and other classmates held a spaghetti dinner and Chinese auction, raising $9,000 for the family. Mullenax has helped the Salvation Army ring the bell at Christmas for the past six years. She has been part of the Night to Shine dance for special needs young adults at the Wildare Church, and has been part of Bristol Beta Club and various community projects. Mullenax has been the clock operator and worked the concession stand at the Sue Kennedy Basketball Tournament, which is a fundraiser for the basketball program and a needy Amish family for the past four years. It is an Amish vs. Yankees basketball game. Mullenax said “I was really surprised to be nominated. It is a really big honor. My cousin, Sydney Fenstermaker, was one of the winners last year, so I guess it’s in the family.” Mullenax said when she hears of someone needing help or facing something bad or difficult, she wants to help

them. She said her grandmother is a big inspiration to her and has gotten her involved in different things in the community. Mullenax also takes part in the Big Brother, Big Sister afterschool mentoring program. She also has been an office aid, helping secretaries, the principal and teachers with paperwork when needed. bcoupland@tribtoday.com

“Whenever she saw a problem or someone struggling, Brooklyn has not hesitated to do all that she can to help out.” — Peg Mullanex

20

Twenty Under 20 / 2020


Emma O’Connell “I feel very proud of how far the community has come together during a very difficult time.” Emma, 18

By DAVID SKOLNICK Staff writer

H

elping others is Emma O’Connell’s passion. When there was a need for food and personal hygiene products for McDonald students, O’Connell and her friend, Sage Mason, created the McDonald Food Pantry. “I wanted to help people and we came up with the idea of collecting food,” said O’Connell, an 18-yearold McDonald High School senior, who is a Twenty Under 20 honoree. “It’s been a big success. Seeing the progress of what I’ve done keeps me going. Seeing the small change that I’ve accomplished makes me proud.” O’Connell and Mason spearheaded the food drive before the COVID-19 pandemic by collecting non-perishables at four basketball games in a competition against Mineral Ridge High School. McDonald collected about 4,000 cans — four times more than Mineral Ridge. “The community really came out,” O’Connell said. “The turnout was amazing.” After the pandemic, O’Connell took it even further by collecting more items and converting a room at the high school library into a pantry. “People need it even more now because of COVID-19,” she said. “I feel very proud

of how far the community has come together during a very difficult time. It’s nice to take care of each other during all of this.” Ethan O’Connell, her twin brother who nominated her for the honor, said, “While the current health pandemic has threatened many of the school activities that seniors look forward to most, instead of wallowing, Emma has chosen to give back to her school community.” “Students can pick up breakfast or lunch items as well as personal grooming products without question or the embarrassment that sometimes will come to a teen asking for help. And to top that, Emma and Sage have already started to groom underclassmen to take over the reins of the

program when (they) graduate. That’s leadership,” he said. In addition to being a 4.0 student, Emma is a member of the National Honor Society, the McDonald cross country and track teams, concert band, math club, Spanish club, vice president of the McDonald Volunteer Club and participates in community programs such

as Christmas in the Village. She said she helped start the volunteer club a few years ago “to get students more involved in the community.” Staying active is important to O’Connell. “I try to do my best,” she said. “I’ve had setbacks, but I try to do everything I can.” O’Connell said she was “very humbled to be nominated” by her brother. “I was pleasantly surprised he would nominate me,” she said. “It was shocking in a very nice way. I’m very honored to be nominated.” Her brother said, “She has become a leader — one capable of pushing, and listening to those around her. (She’s) someone stronger than most, who gives her free time to help run volunteer organizations, who gives her own energy to a common goal rather than her own needs.” Emma said she plans to attend college though she hasn’t decided where. She is considering economics and business as possible majors. dskolnick@tribtoday.com

The McDonald Board of Education, Administration & Staff would like to congratulate McDonald High School’s 20 Under Twenty recipient

Emma O’Connell Twenty Under 20 / 2020

21


Riana Rathburn “I was new to the school, and I just wanted to be involved in things like that, and she approached me about it.” Riana, 17

By ED RUNYAN Staff writer

M

aplewood High School senior Riana Rathburn is described by someone who knows the teen well in some of the best ways — a “leader in the classroom and in the community,” “conscientious,” and “respected by her peers and advisers.” Maplewood High School English teacher Jennifer Wyndham, who has advised Rathburn as a member of the service organization Warren Juniorettes, adds, “Riana has a very genuine interest in the welfare of her peers.” Rathburn, 17, is an active volunteer with the Juniorettes, which is sponsored by the Warren Junior Women’s League. Rathburn has been instrumental in the planning and execution of projects, Wyndham stated while nominating Rathburn for the Tribune Chronicle’s annual Twenty Under 20 program, which recognizes young

22

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

leaders across Trumbull County. “She is well organized and fulfills her responsibilities,” Wyndham said. “Riana has clearly demonstrated her ability to be a self-starter and always seems to find the positive side to any challenge. She has touched many lives in such a positive way.” Her work with the Juniorettes

is just one aspect of her hard work. Rathburn has earned a 4.0 grade-point average and was inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior. She has volunteered at a physical therapy office and at Fairhaven School in Niles to get hands-on experience in the career she plans to pursue. She also was team co-captain this year in cross country at Maplewood and was team co-captain the last two years in track. And she has been team leader for varsity distance girls track and field team for four years. Rathburn said she became interested in the Juniorettes at the urging of Wyndham. “I was new to the school, and I just wanted to be involved in things like that, and she approached me about it,” Rathburn said. The list of her activities as member, planner and coordinator for the Juniorettes is long and includes volunteering to walk dogs, collecting and donating items to the Someplace Safe shelter, collecting food for the Feed Our Valley Campaign and sponsoring a Sip and Paint to benefit the Birds of Flight Sanctuary.


She said she wants to help people as a physical therapist when she graduates from college. Her interest in physical therapy and in running came about when she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in eighth grade while playing basketball. She had surgery and underwent 10 months of physical therapy. “That’s when I began to have a love for physical therapy,” she said. She said she would like to work with kids if possible. Rathburn is vice president of TEAM, Teachers Educating Another at Maplewood. The group coordinates volunteer activities

Congratulations

between the Juniorettes and Maplewood High School. She also has been a fouryear member of the Spanish Club, Library Club and Pep Club. erunyan@tribtoday.com

Congratulations Riana You make us so proud! Keep reaching for the stars! Love, Dad & Mom

RIANA! On behalf of the

Maplewood Board of Education and the Maplewood community we congratulate you on being selected to the prestigious 20 under 20. Twenty Under 20 / 2020

23


Zachary Scher “Being a snowflake usually means you try to make yourself and others more comfortable in any situation.” Zachary, 17

By GUY VOGRIN Staff writer

CHAMPION — Zachary Scher doesn’t mind calling himself a snowflake. The Champion High senior, who earned a Twenty Under 20 leadership award, says the usually derogatory term is different for his vocabulary. “In my experience... the term (snowflake) is used in situations where a person believes someone is being a ‘baby’ and caring about ‘stupid’ things like political correctness or opposition to vulgarity,” he wrote in his nominating essay. “Being a snowflake usually means you try to make yourself and others more comfortable in any situation.” Scher said he would like

24

to fill a leadership void. “I truly want to help because it feels like there is a lack of leadership, especially youth leadership and volunteerism, and if we don’t do it, who will?” Scher said. “Our country and our community cannot progress without kind, intelligent, inclusive and empathetic leadership.” Like he does for snowflake, Scher has his own definition for leadership. “Leadership is an unselfish example you set for others and those around you. Part of that is volunteering for causes that you believe in most and keeping everyone’s best interests in mind. I have especially appreciated the chance to help plan and present programs at our school to encourage peer support for mental health issues and the terror of school shootings. Leadership and volunteerism start in your

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

community and putting others before yourself is something everyone should strive for,” he said. His Champion teachers and administrators also had other words to describe Scher. “Zachary Scher is an impressive young man. His dedication and positive attitude are evident in all aspects of his high school career,” said teacher Susan Lenhart. “I honestly think that one of Zachary’s first thoughts in the morning when he wakes up is what he can do to make someone else’s day better. He goes out of his way to help others and leads both with his

voice and with his actions,” said Principal John T. Grabowski. “Zachary has been a strong voice in creating and leading mentorship programs at Champion that help kids get through many of the difficult issues that

Congratulations Zack! Keep striving to make this world a better place! We love you so much! Mom, Dad, Adam & Bax


kids deal with today.” Teacher John Haug said Scher’s greatest strengths are his initiative, and being authentic and considerate. STEM teacher Rebecca Baxter, who has had Scher in the classroom for two years, was also more than complimentary. “Zachary has a passion for wanting to bring the best out of his peers, school and community,” Baxter said. “He is proud of where he comes from and wants to work toward making it better.” Scher’s mom Karen nominated him for the Twenty Under 20 honor. “Many people these days look at the world and complain about all that is wrong with it, blaming others or intentionally being hurtful to their neighbors or simply walking away. Zachary has always chosen to spend his time and talents in efforts to help educate and lead his peers around issues that

matter most to his community. He and the others selected for this honor are our hope for the future,” Karen Scher said. Among Scher’s activities include being part of Principal Grabowski’s student advisory board, the Student Athlete Leadership Council, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Youth Advisory Board. A fouryear honor roll member, his 3.9 GPA puts him in the top 10 of his class, while he is also a National Honor Society member. As for on-the-field activities, he has lettered in varsity football and track, and has participated in junior varsity basketball. He also has been part of Youth Leadership Mahoning Valley and is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Warren. gvogrin@tribtoday.com

Burkey, Burkey & Scher Co., LPA Attorneys at Law Corporate, Real Estate, Domestic, and Probate law www.burkeyscherlaw.com

Robert F. Burkey, Esq. • James R. Scher, Esq. • Elise M. Burkey, Esq.

330-393-3200 200 Chestnut Ave NE Warren, Ohio 44483 Congratulations to all the Twenty under Twenty Award Winners!!

Special Congratulations to Zachary Scher and Emma O’Connell Twenty Under 20 / 2020

25


Jacob Snelson “Don’t be afraid of doing something. Do it or you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering if you could have.” Jacob, 17

By BURTON COLE Staff writer

I like being productive with my time,” Howland High School senior Jacob A. Snelson said. Snelson, 17, the twoyear head drummer of the high school marching band, has led cardio drumming for Shepherd of the Valley-Howland residents, filled backpacks with food, performed comedic acting with the drama club, proctored Math 24 challenges, sailed through the air as a track team pole vaulter, and works two nights a week at Salvatore’s Italian Grill, among a myriad of projects. He still carries a 4.4 cumulative weight grade-point average. Snelson plans a career as an anesthesiologist. “I had a big interest in biochemistry and how chemicals work on the body, and the study of nerves. Science is my favorite subject. I’m taking two science classes this year. It’s hard, it’s hard — but it’s fun.” That is why Snelson was chosen for the annual

Twenty Under 20 Award, which is sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle, Kent State University at Trumbull and Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. He was nominated by his father and mother, Ralph A. and Erica Snelson. “As Jacob’s parents, it has been a blessing to be on this journey with him watching him mature, grow and become the gentleman he is today,” his father said. “Jacob is a true self-starter who deserves everything he has accomplished through his personal drive, compassion and leadership. He is extremely humble and tries to lift and support all those that surround him and always extends a helping hand.” Jacob Snelson said, “The favorite leadership thing I do is Battalion Men’s Group at North-Mar Church.” Snelson is a corporal. Each corporal leads a group of about seven middle-schoolers, working on Scripture and life lessons. Once a year, the kids go to Klondike, a winter competition in outdoor games against other battalions. The thing is, NorthMar is not Snelson’s home church. He was invited to the group when he was a

“Jacob is a true self-starter who deserves everything he has accomplished through his personal drive, compassion and leadership.” — Ralph A. Snelson, Jacob’s father

26

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

freshman, fell in love with it, and wanted to be a part of it to help increase his relationship with God, his leadership skills and his speaking skills. “My favorite community service is the Appalachian S e r v i c e P r o j e c t ” through his home church, H o w l a n d U n i t e d Methodist, he said. He’s hung drywall and helped replace bathroom and kitchen floors. “The best part of ASP is getting to know the families and how grateful they are and how happy they are able to be — considering the conditions they live in. We take a lot for granted,” he said. His advice: Step out in faith and give it all you’ve got. “Don’t be afraid of doing

something. Do it or you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering if you could have,” Snelson said. “I don’t want to look back at anything I did and think I could have tried harder. My goal is to be able to look back at everything and know I wouldn’t have done it a different way.” bcole@tribtoday.com

Congratulations!

Jacob Snelson Your Church family at

Howland United Methodist Church are proud of you! www.howlandumc.com


Sydney Tenney “Learning to swim can help instill confidence in kids. I got the chance to talk to them and get them excited about swimming. That was me when I was their age, and I want to be there for them like the coach I had was there for me.” Sydney, 17

By RENEE FOX Staff writer

S

ydney Elizabeth Tenney’s committment to service extends past her days at Warren G. Harding High School and into the Army, where she intends to serve after graduating. Tenney, 17, is already in the Army’s Future Soldiers Program, where she intends to serve as an IT specialist under the 25 Bravo designation. “My daughter has chosen to go in the United States Army,” said Anita Tenney, the senior’s mother. “She lhas a myriad of college and escholarship opportunities davailable to her and had still tchosen military service. Of -course through the military dshe is going to get a college ldegree, but she will do so kwhile serving her country. IShe didn’t make this deci-sion on a whim. She is dedicated and proud.” Tenney is one of 20 teens to be selected for the 2020 Tenney said she knows her choice to serve the country will take her to places and people she can’t even imagine, and that she intends to find other ways to serve her community during the adventure. Tenney is a swimmer. She served as lifeguard, taught younger kids how to swim and provided timing services for swim meets for younger teams.

“Learning to swim can help instill confidence in kids. I got the chance to talk to them and get them excited about swimming. That was me when I was their age, and I want to be there for them like the coach I had was there for me,” Tenney said. Tenney is a member of the National Honor Society in which she and her classmates are designing a

Congratulations

Sydney

So Very Proud! Love You Much! Gran, Papa, Aunt Carli, Britt, Bella & Luca

project to help people. She’s on the swim team at her high school, volunteers for blood drives, has been on the honor roll each year in high school, won numerous awards during art shows and won a leadership award in choir. “If I were to be able to choose which students were placed in my classroom, I would choose 30 students like Miss Tenney,” wrote her English teacher Melissa Rentz. “She is smart, beautiful, personable and successful, and if I were lucky enough to have a daughter, I would want her to be just like Sydney.” Tenney’s former teacher Judy Babik said she has “always demonstrated a desire to learn and lead.” “Sydney is the type of young person that will find a way to make the world a better place than she found it. She personifies leadership and humility in ways that leave myself and other grateful to have known her,” said Mary Sanata, also of the Warren schools.

Like most others, the pandemic has put a damper on Tenney’s activities. “She is sad to have missed many opportunities to do good deeds in our community because of our current pandemic,” said Anita Tenney. She knows she has been very blessed in her life and always likes to privately pay it forward. She organized and led peer tutoring and mentoring groups, improved on the school climate by working on issues with students and staff, ran a “store” for younger students to earn rewards for good behavior, organized Relay For Life teams, wrapped gifts for the Salvation Army, volunteers at the city schools’ kindergarten registration day and assists annually at a Special Olympics swim meet, among other activities. “She knows she has been very blessed in her life and always likes to privately pay it forward,” her mother said.

Congratulations Sydney I am so very proud of you. Love you, MeMa

Sydney Elizabeth we are in awe of all that you do and who you have become. Congrats! We love you! Love, Mom, Dad, Cyree & Eric

rfox@tribtoday.com

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

27


Carla Thigpen “With new opportunities, I will already have experience that not a lot of people can say they’ve had.” — Carla, 17

By NATHANAEL HAWTHORNE Staff writer

F

rom childhood, Carla Thigpen has spent a lot of time volunteering. Since she was in fourth grade, she has been involved in events at her church and as Carla, 17, got older, her involvement grew. At Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Niles, she has volunteered at most of the church’s events which paved the way for her to continue to find new ways to help. The biggest push, she said, comes from her parents. “My parents have always been the ones to give me the push, and since then I’ve never stopped. I’ve always wanted to give back,” Thigpen said. At Niles McKinley High School, Thigpen is heavily involved. She serves as president of the band, class president, key club vice president, captain of the volleyball team and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Congratulations CARLA! We are very proud of you! We love you very much! Aunt ReRe, Uncle Tom, Nikki and Alex

28

“People look up to you a lot when you’re a leader, president or captain, so I think being able to say I’ve held these positions will help me in the future,” she said. “With new opportunities, I will already have experience that not a lot of people can say they’ve had.” With the key club, Thigpen has done a lot of community work. One of her favorite volunteer activities is working as a Salvation Army bell ringers at the Eastwood Mall. Even though it’s cold, it’s still nice to stand outside, ring the bell and spread holiday cheer,

Carla said. The events she holds close to her heart, however, are the ones at her church. “The summer festival is my favorite,” she said. “I’ve been doing it for a long time and to see myself grow over the years has been a lot of fun.” Even with a packed schedule, Thigpen still succeeds academically. She holds a 4.0 grade point average and has taken advanced and college courses. Her involvement with volunteering won’t stop after high school, she said. When she gets to college, she plans on joining an organization to help continue her involvement. Also, she said her involvement in high school will help her tremendously in college. “I’m going to meet a lot of new people and can share with those I encounter the tips I learned in high school and we can bounce ideas off

each other. I think my leadership will show, so I can continue to lead people in the organizations I join,” Thigpen said. Carla said she is honored to receive the Twenty Under 20 Award — though she said she doesn’t volunteer for recognition, but because she loves doing it. Her nominator, senior counselor Julie Strollo, wrote, “I can’t think of one area where Carla can improve. She has impressed me for years... I am certain she will make a positive impact as a future community leader.”

CARLA

I am so proud of you CARLA! You are such a blessing! I Love You! Nana

nhawthorne@tribtoday.com

Congratulations CARLA

We are proud of you! We love you very much! Grandma Thigpen

CONGRATULATIONS

CARLA

You continue to make us so proud of your accomplishments! We love you! Dad, Mom, Alaina & RMT

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

Congratulations on your selection for Twenty Under 20! Aunt Melessa, Uncle Frank, Aundrea, Alissa & Morgan


Twenty Under 20 / 2020

29


Destinee Toth “Persevere, don’t lose sight of goals and what you want to be in the future. Don’t let a bad situation become your life; don’t give up.” Destinee, 17

By RENEE FOX Staff writer

D

estinee Toth doesn’t want you to judge a kid by his or her rap sheet anymore than you should judge a book by its cover. If her soon-to-be adoptive parents had done that, she might not be where she is today and in the position to give back to others, she said. Toth, 17, is in the process of being adopted by Tracy and Scott Lippert in West Farmington. She is a senior at Warren G. Harding High School. Despite a rocky beginning in the children services system, Toth now volunteers with Inspiring Minds, is a member of National Honor Society, is a blood drive volunteer, a Salvation Army volunteer, an organizer of the school’s

30

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

Poetry Club, an advanced placement student and a varsity letterman in cross country, outdoor track and cheerleading, and a wing midfielder in soccer. “Destinee has faced more challenges than most people and is involved in the

foster care system. The juxtaposition of her arduous life experience and the new life she is creating for herself, starting with academics, is at times hard to comprehend. It does, however, make this young woman the recipient of my great


respect,” said Sue Mizik, school counselor. For other kids in the foster care system, and to the people thinking of stepping up to become a foster parent, Toth has advice. For kids in the system, she said, “Make it a goal to use education to make yourself successful in life.” “Persevere, don’t lose sight of goals and what you want to be in the future. Don’t let a bad situation become your life; don’t give up.” And to adults who are able, Toth said, “You should foster and adopt. There are plenty of amazing kids out there that need a home. Don’t go by the information about the child, don’t go by their rap sheet. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I didn’t have a good rap sheet, but I am being adopted now by foster parents. All kids need a good loving family, whether part-time or for the long haul. All kids have value.” Toth said she would like to start her own organization akin to Inspiring Minds when she is older to help mentor kids growing up in similar

situations. She intends to study engineering and aspires to own her own firm. School counselor Michele Senediak said she knows Toth will be successful in life. “She is an exceptional student, young lady and citizen. She possesses a high degree of curiosity, which leads her to pursue a wide variety of interests both in and out of the classroom. Her serious approach to her studies and preparation for the future is well balanced with a delightful sense of humor and genuine smile,” Senediak said. School counselor Erin KampfMelillo said Toth excels as a writer and performer, and that she drives others to express themselves by organizing Poetry Club events. “Destinee is a natural leader who sees the strengths in

“Destinee has faced more challenges than most people and is involved in the foster care system. The juxtaposition of her arduous life experience and the new life she is creating for herself, starting with academics, is at times hard to comprehend. It does, however, make this young woman the recipient of my great respect.” — Sue Mizik, school counselor

others and encourages them to actively contribute to the community in a positive way. She is optimistic and strength based, and it is her spirit of

community that has brought me to nominate her for the Twenty Under 20 award,” Kampf-Melillo said. rfox@tribtoday.com

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

31


Matthew Vencel “There’s not a lot of people (at my age) who can say they helped manage a store in a major restaurant chain and manage people who are twice their age.” Matthew, 18

By GUY VOGRIN Staff writer

WARREN — Matthew Vencel, 18, isn’t shy talking about his leadership qualities. “There’s not a lot of people (at my age) who can say they helped manage a store in a major restaurant chain and manage people who are twice their age,” said the Warren G. Harding senior who recently gave up his job as assistant manager of the Little Caesar’s pizza store in Cortland. Vencel’s guidance counselor, Sue Mizik said his job became a little more complicated because of COVID-19. “(He) is a conscientious, diligent student,” Mizik said. “Based on his achievements, focused coursework and positive attitude, it is quite evident that he will provide leadership with integrity to society.” Vencel has maintained a 4.24 grade-point average while taking college-level courses in calculus, biology and music theory. “His courseload is one that would easily overwhelm many students,” Mizik said. “But he handles it with a quick, genuine smile and a phenomenal knack for time management.”

Congratulations

Matthew!

You are our STAR! Love, Uncle David & Aunt Nancy 32

Vencel said his leadership abilities “can expand his portfolio” when seeking future jobs or college scholarships. “I took on these challenges so I can gain experience as a leader,” he said

Congrats Matt on all your accomplishments. We are so proud of you. Love, Gramma Tereba & Uncle John

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

Vencel said after graduation from high school, he plans to study marine science in college, with a minor in music. He plays a variety of instruments in the Warren G. Harding Symphonic, Jazz and Marching Bands.

Congratulations Matthew! We applaud your accomplishments and thank you for your service to us. May God bless you as you continue to succeed. Howland Community Church


He would like to become an oceanographer. “My work would include studying marine life and their ecosystems, ocean circulation, the geology of the seafloor and the chemical and physical properties of the ocean,” Vencel said. Because of his natural ability to problem solve, Vencel said he wants to find the best solutions to the problems in the oceans. Vencel said it was appropriate that he was doing his homework when he found out he was nominated for the Twenty Under 20 award. “It was exciting, and the news uplifted me,” Vencel said. Mizik said Vencel understands the value of service and the important role it plays in the community. “Matt Vencel is representative of his generation and why I have such faith in them as our future leaders,” Mizik said. “His humility, work ethic, and focus on the service of others are contraindicative of the narrative that often permeates our society today. It is an honor to work with him as he causes me to want to raise my personal and professional standards in service to our students.” The son of Kevin and Carol Vencel of Cortland has served his congregation at Howland Community Church as a lay leader and a deacon captain. He also finds time to be a lifeguard at both the Warren Olympic Club and the pool at his high school, and works as a clerk at a local dentist’s office. He also plays in the Cortland Community Band and acts in theater productions at Kent Trumbull Theater. gvogrin@tribtoday.com

Congratulations

Matthew Vencel We are so proud of you and your accomplishments! We Love You! Mom, Dad, Mary and the Staff at Dr. Tereba’s office Twenty Under 20 / 2020

33


“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

Past winners

2013 James Mitolo Shelby List Nikhil Nadler Choniece Phillips Zachary Szewczyk William Anastasiadis Dylan Anders Brendan Baugher Danielle Bucci Breanna Bucco Alexa Goffos Matt Headland Gabriella Hosack Alexis James Kyle Jones Dillon Marx MacKenzie Polakoff Tatum Sheets Olivia Woods Alexandra Yuhas

2014 Merideth Brugler Jacqueline Germano Anna McCue Hannah Rogers Sabrina Snell Melissa Baker Alexis Camuso Rachel Cullison Allyson Dean Madison DeMarco Maura Dixon Lauren Fabrizio Madeline Grimes Stewart Hetson Alexis James

34

Elizabeth Kellar Marlena Liming LeAnn Penn Marisa Pipino Ariana Shannon

2015 Michael Miller Allyson Crays Hannah Emerson Taylor Hopkins Olivia Kochunas Holly Angelo Moira Armstrong Sara Baugher Emma Hetson Alexis James Ashly Lamosek Samantha Lashley Matthew Luonuansuu Ellie Martin Alexandria Meade Laura Miller Jenna Paskey Adrianna Placanica Jacob Ryser Kada Williams

2016 Ryan Jones Jasmine Hickey Taylor Hopkins Elizabeth McCue Da’Jahnae Provitt Hailee Elza Robin Forsha Britany Hickey Gabrielle Jones

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

Georganna Norris Connor Orr Isabella Orr Lauren Paczak John Payiavlas Caitlin Seifert Preston Sheets Wil Thompson Victoria Woods Jessica Wylie Madyson Yocum

2017 Cara Annandono Emma Baugher Francesca Byrne Donna Cherry Michael Cline Anthony Costarella Jillian DiCesare Kaitlyn Elder Megan Fielder Celeste Harris Taylor Hope Honsaker Gianna Jones Jacquelyn Keslar Phillip Loges Anastasia McLeod Elizabeth Mintus Hyungjun (Richard) Park Sarah Ryser Lydia Walls Addison Wilson

2018 Katrina Altawil Julia Carson Melody Castner

Kayla Marie Clark Cassie Forsha Gannon Fridley Blake Gould Gianna Jones Isabella Kellar Joon Marie Kim Lillian Kish Katie McBane Angelica Park Alexander Payiavlas Brenna Rimer Michael A. Schaefer Kathryn Sharples Michael VanSuch Lydia Walls Dante Zamarelli

2019 Jacquelyn Adler Xavier Allen Katrina Altawil Jacob Buttar Cullen Faulk Sydney Fenstermaker Elizabeth Gajski Jacob Gallagher Douglas Gurdak Elyssa Hawkins Daniella Hosack Ashley Lytle Sage Mason Scott Mintus Nicholas Muscarella Isabella Nogales Madison Schaefer Lindsey Shrodek Allison Smith Taylor O. Tomlinson


CONGRATULATIONS

Gianna Merlo

OF 2657 NILES - CORTLAND RD. SE ROUTE 46 • WARREN, OHIO 44484 WARREN 330 -369-1678 • 888-545-8095 • ToyotaOfWarren.com

! s n o i t a l u t gra

Con

To Our Twenty Under 20 Winners Najah Elam Chloe Harris Sydney Tenney Destinee Toth Matthew Vencel

Warren City Schools Twenty Under 20 / 2020

35


Congratulations to the Twenty Under 20 nominees.

AKRONCHILDRENS.ORG

36

Twenty Under 20 / 2020

ach7138-10_FlowerBoy_20_Under_20_v01FA_20190822.indd 1

8/23/19 2:54 PM

Profile for Tribune Chronicle

2020 TWENTY UNDER 20  

TWENTY UNDER 20 Magazine published December 17, 2020.

2020 TWENTY UNDER 20  

TWENTY UNDER 20 Magazine published December 17, 2020.

Advertisement