High school students share $1,500 for community projects
Three student teams from Lycoming County – representing Jersey Shore, Montgomery and Montoursville area high schools – will share $1,500 to implement civic-minded projects they put forward during Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Youth Leadership Program.
Twenty-seven students from nine schools graduated May 25 from the initiative, which is designed to educate and motivate students to understand the needs of their communities and to take an active leadership role in addressing them.
The 2023 Youth Leadership participants:
Quinn Draper, Katie Miller and Liam Turnbow, Hughesville Jr./Sr. High School; Adalyn Bower, Alexis Canellos and Emily Stevenson, Jersey Shore Area High School; Kinjal Bhagat, Emma Belcher and Zach Wagner-Pizza, Loyalsock Township High School; Haylie Heverly, Jaiden Reish and Mitchell Schreiber, Montgomery Area High School; Anna Baylor, Holden Fleming and Mary Keeth, Montoursville Area High School; Samantha DeWitt, Emma Gallew and Aidan Vogt, St. John Neumann Regional Academy; Lillian Barrett, Eden Lukasiewicz and Nathaniel Manning, South Williamsport Jr./Sr. High School; Ben Carpenter, Brock Wettlaufer and Cloey Whipple, Sullivan County High School; and Payton Baney, Adrianna Clemens and Micai Harris, Williamsport Area High School.
Meghan R. Delsite Coleman and Jaycie M. Loud, assistant directors of student engagement, coordinate the Penn College Youth Leadership program, which resumed this year after a three-year pandemic hiatus.
“Working with students from our local school districts has been an honor. Watching them develop such inspirational and impactful projects based on the needs they have witnessed in their communities is exciting,” Delsite Coleman said. “People often discount high school students’ thoughts and opinions, but Youth Leadership is an opportunity to celebrate and empower them to make a difference.”
The nine teams each submitted a proposal in the Social Change Competition, subsequently presenting those projects to a panel of Jen M. Cullin-Hetrick, associate director of admissions at Penn College; Becky J. Shaner, the college’s senior manager of donor relations and special events; and Betty M. Gilmour, director of grantmaking for the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.
During the culminating graduation banquet in the Thompson Professional Development Center, catered by Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, the winners of the grant competition were announced by Allison Bressler Grove, director of student engagement.
- Jersey Shore Area High School ($675)
“Mindfulness” – Money was allocated for training teachers to better address students’ mental health problems.
- Montgomery Area High School ($300)
“Improving the Raiders Den” – Funding was earmarked for the purchase of calculators for a peer-mentoring program aimed at increasing students’ academic performance.
- Montoursville Area High School ($525)
“‘Heart-Stopper’ in the Park” – A grant was awarded to install a system of automated external defibrillators in Indian Park.
In other submissions:
The Hughesville team advanced a series of community yard games to boost involvement and belonging; Loyalsock envisioned a vending machine that would provide essentials for lower-income residents; St. John Neumann planned to create a kiosk system to educate the public and reduce the stigma surrounding students’ mental health; Sullivan County students proposed establishment of a dog park in Laporte; South Williamsport teammates hoped to develop a community event that also raised money to restore the Pike Drive-In; and Williamsport students eyed a public event as a fundraiser for mental health awareness organizations.