2015 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge winners named

For Immediate Release

August 19, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – A plan to educate young students about agriculture and fund 4-H agriscience programs in major cities earned Leah Brown of Warren County, Natalie Pavlick of Hamilton County and Tyler White and Mercedes Woodson, both of Montgomery County, the first place award in the 2015 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge finals.

Sponsored by Ohio 4-H, Ohio FFA and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the challenge brings together youths age 14-18 from around the state to discuss community issues and concerns and then work together to propose policies and programs to solve the issues.

The contest started in March when groups met to learn about public policy issues and began planning their proposals. Then in May, 10 teams competed to advance in the semifinals, with four teams advancing to the finals, which were held during the Ohio State Fair.

The teams were judged on their public policy proposals dealing with a specific issue or problem. In the final competition, the teams described the steps necessary to have their public policy proposal adopted by the appropriate government authorities. Scholarships were given to each participant based on their team’s placing: first, $250; second, $150; third, $50, fourth, $25.

Judges for the finals were Sereana Howard Dresbach, Dresbach Consulting; Elizabeth Casasanta, Ohio State University assistant director of competitive admissions, and state Rep. Brian Hill, chairman of the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

“You’ve all spent a long time on your projects, and I can tell the effort you all put in and the passion you expressed today for the topics you chose,” Hill said. “Maybe we will even see some of these policies being proposed or implemented in legislation in the general assembly.”

Other finalists and their proposals:

  • Second: Natalyn Landis of Fairfield County. Her proposal addressed dropout rates. It suggested funding for after-school programs in every county including an after-school educator to implement programs free for all students or requiring every school in the state offer the New Directions After School Program.
  • Third: Emily Kanney of Richland County and Jacob Serio of Morrow County. They want to improve roads in Richland County and proposed redistribution of the gas tax so more of it goes to road maintenance and improvement.
  • Fourth: Katie Conley, Rachael Herring and Alec Ogg, all of Wyandot County and Shaye Creamer and Jordan Furer, both of Ridgemont High School. Their “Fitness Out of the Classroom” proposal focused on getting Fitbits for eighth graders in six schools to track their fitness and see if fitness improves based on having a Fitbit.

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CONTACT: Joe Cornely

PHONE: (614) 246-8230

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Photo caption: (L to R) State Rep. Brian Hill, Elizabeth Casasanta, Tyler White, Mercedes Woodson, Leah Brown, Natalie Pavlick and Sereana Howard Dresbach.