High School Student Leaders' Community Projects Split $1,500 in Funding

Published 05.08.2013


Thanks to a philanthropic windfall, Pennsylvania College of Technology's Youth Leadership Program, which celebrates all that is right with high school sophomores and juniors, was able to fully fund community projects submitted by the four winning teams in the initiative's Social Change Competition.

Graduates of the Penn College Youth Leadership Program gather for a group photo on April 22, the day of their project presentations in the Student and Administrative Services Center.South Williamsport junior Jennifer L. Jackson, chosen by her peers as class speaker for Wednesday's graduation banquet, receives her Youth Leadership Program certificate from Elliott Strickland, Penn College's chief student affairs officer.Thirty teenagers from 10 secondary schools in the region graduated Wednesday night from the program, which is "designed to educate and motivate (the students) to understand the needs of the community and take an active leadership role in addressing them."

This is the third year for Penn College's involvement, which is supervised by Elizabeth G. Verbos, coordinator of admissions and enrollment event services, and Bradley M. Webb, director of student affairs administration.

The students gathered with their families, some joined by representatives of their respective school districts, for a banquet in the Thompson Professional Development Center.

The evening's keynote speaker was Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer at the college, who also announced that $1,500 in funding – including a $500 infusion from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania – was awarded to the top proposals as decided after competitively judged presentations late last month:

  • $570 to Williamsport Area High School students for Mentorship Through Science, designed to spur middle school youngsters' interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program targets at-risk sixth-graders with monthly classes that feature hands-on experiments in those STEM areas, such as building a battery and simulating a volcano.

  • $450 to the South Williamsport Area High School team for renovations to a municipal recreation area, where broken/unsafe equipment, graffiti, and faded and chipped paint are among the evidence of disrepair. Since approaching Borough Council to get permission to work on the project, some items (new swings and mulch, among them) have already been met.

  • $300 to Hughesville High School students for a one-day Health Awareness Fair, which would encourage better nutrition and more active lifestyles through fun and informational activities – such as a family-oriented relay race.

  • $180 to Loyalsock Township High School's team for a preventative after-school workshop for seventh- and eighth-graders that would focus on alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

The 2013 graduates and their schools are:

Hannah S. Avery, Seneca D. Burgess and Melanie  E. Santo, Hughesville; Adam J. Campbell, Leigh Ann Eisenhauer and Cortney J. Steinbacher, Jersey Shore Area; Jared T. Kriner, Ryan M. Loeh and Abigail M. Yates, Loyalsock Township; Nicholas A. Buckle, Kaylie A. Harer and Colby J. Heintzelman, Montgomery; Sawyer B. Bressler, William J. Confer and Janelle L. Konkle, Montoursville Area; Crystal L. Good, Natalie E. Lamoreaux and Gavin R. Weatherhold, Muncy; Ben J. Caviston, Anastasia P. Georges and Alyssa L. Gregory, St. John Neumann Regional Academy; Jennifer L. Jackson (selected as class speaker), Kelsey M. Kriner and Scott D. Rosenberg, South Williamsport; Luke F. Iarkowski, Kayla E. Rosbach and Olivia C. Schumacher, Sullivan County; and Divia A. Feinstein, Alanna R. Harding and Livia M. Nash, Williamsport Area.

Williamsport Area's Livia M. Nash, Divia A. Feinstein and Alanna R. HardingSouth Williamsport Area's Scott D. Rosenberg, Kelsey M. Kriner and Jennifer L. JacksonWith near-parental pride, program facilitators Bradley M. Webb and Elizabeth G. Verbos congratulate the students and invite them to stay in touch.Hughesville's Seneca D. Burgess, Hannah S. Avery and Melanie E. SantoLoyalsock Township's Ryan M. Loeh, Abigail M. Yates and Jared T. KrinerStrickland also noted the contributions of community members who mentored the students throughout their Youth Leadership Program experience, which began last fall and has included visits to a number of local social-service agencies. Among them are Davie Jane Gilmour, Penn College president; William J. Martin, retired senior vice president; Andree P. Phillips, owner of Radiant Steel Products Co.; and Jennifer D. Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the FCFPA.Each student was presented with a graduation certificate, commemorative book, group photo – and the promise of a $2,000 annual scholarship should they attend Penn College.