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High School Teams Share $1,000 to Fund ‘Leadership’ Projects

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Student teams from three area secondary schools will share $1,000 to fund civic projects they proposed during Pennsylvania College of Technology's second annual Youth Leadership Program.

More than two dozen high school juniors and sophomores graduated Wednesday from the initiative, designed to educate students and motivate them to understand the needs of their communities and to take an active role in addressing them.

Apropos that challenge, each group this year submitted a grant proposal in a Social Change Competition, presenting and defending their project ideas before a four-judge panel late last month. During a graduation banquet in the college's Thompson Professional Development Center, President Davie Jane Gilmour – among the judges for the competition – announced the winners.

"There are some great future leaders in this room, and it was fascinating to hear all of the presentations," she said. "The best proposal and the best presentation of the day – no notes, professional and appropriate – was the team from Hughesville High School." The group's project, to clean up Bodine Park (a near-century-old community fixture on the northwest side of the borough), was fully funded at $200.

In second place, its $350 proposal also granted complete financing, was the Williamsport Area High School team's desire to spark a love of reading among Sheridan Elementary School fifth-graders by buying them books tailored to their interests.

Third prize, awarded $450 as partial funding, went to three students from Montoursville spearheading the beautification of a school courtyard that has fallen into disrepair.

The 27 graduates and their high schools are:

Kyle D. Bomboy, Steven B. Saladino and Jessica L. Shetler, Hughesville; Tyler R. Eck, Cameron M. Hart and Danielle M. Rozenberg, Jersey Shore Area; Tyler R. Quigley, Marina M. Seely and Roger W. Wilson, Loyalsock Township; Megan E. Drick, Dominic A. Galanti and Melissa R. Walters, Montgomery; Abigail A. Caviston, Nicole A. Payne and Justice E. Rooker, Montoursville Area; Karina M. Fry, Kelly E. Reed and Victoria L. Smith, Muncy; Benjamin P. Facey, James J. Gibbons and Henry A. Rainey, St. John Neumann Regional Academy; Andrew D. Gipe and Rocky L. Liddic, South Williamsport; Brianna N. Baumunk and Benjamin C.J. Hatch, Sullivan County; and Collin J. Lakatos (chosen by his peers as student speaker) and Crystal R. Vance, Williamsport Area.

The class has attended monthly daylong sessions since the start of the academic year, listening to speakers, touring social-service agencies – and returning to those agencies (American Rescue Workers, James V. Brown Library, and the local chapters of the SPCA and Habitat for Humanity) as volunteers.

The program, formerly offered through the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, is facilitated by Elizabeth G. Verbos, coordinator of admissions and enrollment event services, and Bradley M. Webb, director of student affairs administration.

Both offered opening remarks at the graduation and were presented with gifts of appreciation from the class: flowers for Verbos and a student-autographed bow tie for Webb, whose signature choice of neckwear was emulated by several of the young men in the graduating class. (Webb was a successor to Erin M. Datteri, former assistant director of student activities for Greek life and leadership, who helped coordinate the program before moving to Colorado in February.)

In addition to a graduation certificate, class photo and commemorative book in which to chart their next five years, all graduates get a $2,000 scholarship if they enroll at Penn College.

Among others attending were Dennis L. Correll, the college's associate dean of admissions and financial aid, and Jennifer D. Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, who – along with Gilmour; Andree P. Phillips, owner of Radiant Steel Products Co.; and Vincent J. Matteo, chamber president and CEO – judged the Social Change Competition.
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