Luncheon lauds standout youths

PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY Seneca County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Jay Meyer poses for a photo with Jakobi Jackson during the 19th annual Celebrate Youth Luncheon Tuesday afternoon.

Youths and adults showcasing the 40 Developmental Assets were recognized Tuesday afternoon during the annual Celebrate Youth Luncheon at Elizabeth Schaefer Auditorium..

“This is a victory lap for youth and adults here today who do so much for the kids in our community,” Seneca County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Jay Meyer said.

“So we celebrate the success of youth and celebrate the growth and development of youth assets in our community,” he said during his keynote speech. “We also celebrate knowledge and truth.

“Just like we know a flower needs water, light and nutrients to achieve its full potential, we know these developmental assets are the light, the water and the nutrients to help our kids grow.”

Thirty-seven youths and adults were nominated by area schools, organizations and agencies.

Among those nominated was Brody Conley, an eighth-grader at Tiffin Middle School.

Conley was nominated by Melissa Mellott, a TMS guidance counselor.

On her nomination form, Mellott stated that Conley “is a positive role model who exhibits the traits and qualities that students, staff and community gravitate towards.”

“It is not uncommon to see Brody taking students under his wing, including inviting a student with autism to sit with him at lunch everyday, motivating fellow teammates in the weight room or encouraging a struggling peer during class,” she wrote.

From Old Fort Elementary, Chloe Gillespie was nominated by teacher Stella Lopez.

Lopez stated on her nomination form that Gillespie is a “responsible and caring young lady who is committed to learning. Even with her challenges of accessing a hearing world, she advocates 100-percent for herself to ensure she has the necessary information to be successful.”

Kim Bonnell, a teacher at Bridges Community Academy, nominated student Anez Terrell, noting her resilience and “greeting each day with confidence and bravery.”

“(Terrell) strives to do well in her studies and possesses remarkable skills to resist negative peer pressure,” Bonnell wrote. “Following the sudden death of her sister last spring, Anez has shown us all how to find opportunities in each new day and remain strong and optimistic in the process.”

Tiffin City Schools’ guidance counselor Suzanne Reinhart and Krout 2-3 Elementary School teacher Samantha Demmerly nominated Morgan Stahl, 8, who died Oct. 23.

Stahl’s family was present to accept the recognition.

“Krout School lost a very special student, Morgan Stahl, in October,” Reinhart and Demmerly wrote in their nomination. “We would like to honor her family for being actively involved, setting boundaries and raising a very kind and compassionate daughter. Classmates described Morgan as a bucket filler, a friend to everyone and always thinking of others. Morgan’s positive peer influence is greatly missed in Miss Demmerly’s class.”

Reinhart nominated Demmerly as an adult to receive recognition.

“Positive adult relationships, caring classroom environment and positive role model for students are a small part of Samantha Demmerly’s impact on students in the classroom,” Reinhart wrote in her nomination. “She has demonstrated tremendous strength, support and love to her students who have lost Morgan, a very special classmate and friend. Samantha has led by example demonstrating strength and compassion.”

The luncheon was sponsored by Seneca County Family & Children First, Tiffin Rotary Club and Tiffin Optimist Club.

Other student nominees included:

St. Wendelin Catholic School — Gabriel Badick and Carlos Rodriqez Jr.

Nobel 4-5 Elementary School — Brayden Boes and Adalynn Schumm.

Columbian High School — Andrew Branson and Hailey Cortez.

North Central Academy — Ryan Brown and Lea Fetro.

SMYL — Madison Courtney.

Washington K-1 Elementary School — Braden Distel and Jakobi Jackson.

Tiffin YMCA — Allison Drown.

Old Fort High School — Nicole Fry.

Fostoria City Schools — Olivia Harvey and Karma Williams.

Seneca East High School — Courtney Heiser, Shayden Heiser and Jazmine Pifher.

Tiffin Middle School — Kayla Hook.

Fostoria Intermediate Elementary School — Adae’ja Johnson and Peg Ward.

Hopewell-Loudon Local Schools — Renae Kapelka.

Bridges Community Academy — Haley Lutz.

Calvert Catholic Schools — Mara Mangiola and Danielle Park.

Family and Children First Council Wraparound Program — Tasha Phillips.

Sentinel Career and Technology Center — Ashley Reinhart.

Seneca County Opportunity Center — Matthew Schumacher.

Other adult nominees included:

Tiffin Middle School — Sara Conner.

Columbian High School — Gary Hart.

In Motion Dance Studio — Jenny Karl.

Sentinel Career and Technology Center — Michele Spencer.