Megan Lieber said she didn't expect to walk away from the 46th annual Niles Interfaith Dinner Sunday night with a $500 scholarship. The 17-year-old was one of three high school seniors recognized at the event held at Ciminero's Banquet Center, Niles.
"I'm really honored, but I was really surprised when they said my name," she said. "It's nice to be recognized like this."
Lieber, of John F. Kennedy High School, received the Thomas Murphy Youth Memorial Award. Also recognized were Casey Claypool, 18, of Niles McKinley and Meghan Garland, 18, of Mineral Ridge, who each received plaques. Also recognized was Clarissa Whippo, of Liberty High School and the Trumbull Career and Technical School, who was absent.
Virginia Shank / The Niles Times
Several high school seniors were recognized at the 46th annual Niles Interfaith Dinner on Sunday at Ciminero’s Banquet Center. Pictured, from left, are Marc Mucroski of the Niles Kiwanis Club; Casey A. Claypool, 18, of Niles McKinley High School; Megan Lieber, 17, of John F. Kennedy High School; Meghan Garland, 18, of Mineral Ridge High School; and the Rev. David MacDonald of the Niles First United Methodist Church.
Peg McGinnis, banquet chairwoman, said the primary purpose of the event is to recognize high school students at participating churches for their achievements.
"That's what our main focus is," she explained. "The secondary goal is to bring our churches together to fellowship and for comradery."
About 100 people gathered for the event. The Rev. V. Donald Hall, rector at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, served as keynote speaker. Hall talked to the group about the importance of ecumenism.
He advised the attendees that although they as Christians could dig their heals in and not look beyond their own belief systems to learn from others, it's a "far greater challenge to recognize, understand and respect" another's beliefs, he said.
McGinnis said this year 10 churches participated in the dinner, which was hosted by St. Stephen Church. Other participating churches were: First Christian, First United Methodist, First Presbyterian, First Presbyterian of Mineral Ridge, New Hope Methodist, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Luke Episcopal, Southside Presbyterian and Trinity Lutheran.