Words of praise and adulation go out to the 20 service-minded, Mahoning County teenagers who will be honored at the Tuesday banquet at The Georgetown in Boardman.
The occasion is Mahoning County's first group of 20 Under Twenty, a program sponsored by Town Crier newspapers, Akron Children's Hospital and the Tribune Chronicle, focusing attention on the extraordinary leadership of youth.
All the honorees are younger than age 20 and chosen based on a calculation of 50 percent for volunteer work, 25 percent for academics and 25 percent for extracurricular activities.
In addition to the banquet, the profiles of each of the honorees will appear in a magazine that will be published with the Town Crier newspapers following the banquet.
Many of the honorees have shown a mature sense of giving back to their community, a rare quality in this era when everything seems to be predicated on a government handout.
The Mahoning 20 under Twenty are:
Akeera Mitchell, a Youngstown Early College senior, who has helped coordinate multiple food drives in the community.
Alan Burns, a Boardman senior who is commissioner for Link Crew at BHS, a program designed to link seniors with freshmen in an effort to make the first year in high school a little less tense.
Christian Moore, a South Range senior started a 4-H club to teach inner city children at Taft Elementary about gardening.
Christina Garcia, a senior at Youngstown Early College, tutors students in Math, helps various instructors and is part of a school leadership group.
Drew Bennett, a Canfield student who has demonstrated the qualities of leadership, integrity and intelligence in a variety of clubs and organizations
Emily Erb, a South Range senior whose love for children has evolved into volunteering at Vacation Bible School, church camp and at Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.
Ernest Barket, a Canfield High School senior raises money for the American Cancer Society and volunteers at church dinners, rummage sales and has a leadership role in the youth group.
Kent Hilderbrand, a junior at South Range. This Eagle Scout has taken part in many community service projects, volunteers at a food pantry and serves with the youth group at St. James Episcopal Church.
Marcus Masello, a Boardman senior and Eagle Scout who is heavily involved in his church, school and in the community at large.
Max Morrow, a Boardman High School senior, raised money to place wreaths on graves at Boardman Township Cemetery, volunteers at the Rescue Mission and is a lay leader at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Michael Angiolelli, a Cardinal Mooney junior who volunteers every week at Sunrise Senior Living in Poland to serve the elderly residents.
Michelle Whiteleather, a senior at Canfield High School who helps out in various church ministries, including music, kitchen help, fundraising and even going on mission trips.
Murphy Sharp, a Cardinal Mooney senior who started a project to help raise enough funds to build wells in fresh water-starved Uganda.
Richard Jenkins, a senior at Canfield High School, holds leadership positions in the Leo's Club, and organizes students who serve meals every month at the Rescue Mission.
Scott Erb, a sophomore at South Range, volunteers at Elkhorn Valley Christian Camp, Big Reach Center of Hope and makes plays Taps on his trumpet in honor of fallen heroes at various memorial services.
Skylar Berger, a Youngstown Early College senior who is active in the Youngstown Historical Society and recipient of the African Pyramid Scholar award.
Tradaiza Merchant, an Austintown Fitch High School senior volunteers as a mentor and tutor to youth at Jehovah's House of Prayer. She is also creating a summer basketball camp for youth.
Victoria Armour, a Fitch senior who does a lot of volunteer work as a kennel attendant at the Come Stay and Play Resort.
Zach Cain, Springfield Local senior who received an Eagle Scout honor with his community service project being painting fire hydrants.
Zachary While, a senior at Austintown Fitch High School holds leadership positions in the German Club, band and robotics team. He is close to earning a Eagle Scout honors and raised funds for Haiti relief.
Again, a big salute goes out to these young adults.