Young people honored for service

A surprised Gannon Fridley of Warren John F. Kennedy High School, center, is presented a check for $500, to be donated to a charity of his choice, by Tribune Chronicle Publisher Charles R. Jarvis , far right, for being this year’s top Twenty Under 20 winner. Also shown are, from left, Mandy Odom from Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, Lance Grahn, dean at Kent State University at Trumbull, and Ted Snyder, Tribune Chronicle general manager. The Twenty Under 20 program is sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle, the hospital and KSU at Trumbull. Tribune Chronicle photos / R. Michael Semple

WARREN — John F. Kennedy High School senior Gannon Fridley said he was “totally surprised” when he was named this year’s top Twenty Under 20 on Tuesday and plans to donate the $500 award he received to Earth Angel Farms, where he volunteers.

The Tribune Chronicle, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and Kent State University at Trumbull, recognized 20 outstanding young people for their leadership and volunteerism in the community at the sixth annual Twenty Under 20 awards banquet at DiVieste Banquet Hall.

Fridley, who is involved in many groups both at JFK and in the community, has for several years helped Earth Angel Farms, a non-profit organization created by Dr. Holly Maggiano, that teaches individuals with physical and developmental disabilities agricultural learning and healthy living.

“Working there has shown me the true definition of hard work. These individuals give 110 percent effort on a daily basis,” Fridley said.

He was nominated for the award by Maggiano, who noted Fridley helps with many fundraising efforts and programs through Earth Angel Farms.

“Words can’t describe how much of an honor this truly is. I was not expecting this. I encourage others to give of themselves and help others. I will use the money to help out Earth Angel Farms,” Fridley said.

The other top four runners-up, who each received $125 for charities of their choice, were Gianna Jones, a 2017 Warren G. Harding High school graduate and Youngstown State University freshman; Alexander Payiavlas, a senior at Warren G. Harding High School; Brenna Rimer, a senior at Bristol High School; and Dante Zamarelli, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School.

Brenda Linert, editor of the Tribune Chronicle, said each of the 20 recipients is “an asset to the community by providing leadership and living productive, ethical, honorable and inspirational lives. They have shown their leadership in providing service to help others.”

The 20 students recognized each received a flame-shaped award, and resolutions from the Trumbull County commissioners, U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Howland, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

In addition, Lance Grahn, dean at Kent State at Trumbull, said all 20 are offered a full two-year tuition scholarship to the local Kent State University campus, if they decide to attend here in Trumbull County.

Grahn said the 20 recipients have shown leadership, service, energy and compassion to make their communities better places.

“Every college and university in the country wants to have you. We hope you come back here after completing your education and help re-energize this area,” he said.

Charles Jarvis, publisher of the Tribune Chronicle, said everyone will leave the event with a “greater appreciation of what the next generation is capable of.

“They have given of themselves in an extraordinary way to help make better our community and the lives of others. They have shown their giving and heart for others,” Jarvis said.

He said the 20 young people have all done impressive things in their communities and have the support of family and their communities.

“This award is just as much for all of you for your influence and support in their lives,” he said. “We have leaders in this room. Leadership is key in any organization, government and community. These outstanding young people have shown their leadership through service to their community. They are all winners.”

He said there were 50 nominations this year.

Also honored in the 2018 Class of Twenty Under 20 are: Michael VanSuch, Hubbard High School; Katrina Altawil, Howland High School; Lydia Walls, Warren G. Harding High School; Kathryn Sharples, Girard High School; Melody Castner, Hubbard High School; Blake Gould, Lakeview High School; Angelica Park, Girard High School; Kayla Clark, Howland High School; Julia Carson, Niles McKinley High School; Katie McBane, Warren G. Harding High School; Michael Schaefer, Howland High School; Cassie Forsha, Badger High School; Isabella Kellar, Maplewood High School; Lillian Kish, Hubbard High School; and Joon Kim, Lakeview High School.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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