All too often I hear reference made to the sad state of affairs among America’s youth. They are easy targets for broad statements about a self-absorbed video game culture. But, no generation should be defined by its worst stereotypes. I wish the detractors, or anyone skeptical of a future in the hands of today’s teenagers, could have attended the Americanism Program with me this past Sunday.
The Joseph W. Diehn Post #468 on Centennial Road was host to an outstanding group of Sylvania high school students. Some students were invited because of their high scores on the annual Americanism and Government Test, some students were invited to read their Americanism and Government essays, and the remaining students were invited to recount their time at Buckeye Boys and Girls State. In all three areas, Southview shone brightly.
First, the top two scores on the Americanism and Government Test were both Southview students—Jacob Connolly and Sydnie Davis. In fact, Jacob scored the highest in the entire State, and won himself a trip to Washington D.C. Second, essay winners Peter Wurster and Cassandra Arvay gave personal and critical accounts of what American freedoms they hold most dear. (It may not surprise you that the First Amendment, especially freedom of religion, speech, and the press, was popular among all the young patriots.) Third, Buckeye Boys State delegates—Arman Serpen, Marwin Li, and Jordan Topoleski—described some of their favorite moments from their time spent last summer organizing and running their own government. A heartfelt keynote address was delivered by Jordan, who was one of 98 students nation-wide who were invited to attend Boys Nation in Washington D.C.
Among all the day’s highlights, my favorite was a recurring theme of perseverance. Multiple students from Northview and Southview gave accounts of running for offices they did not win, yet each and every student believed they contributed to society in a meaningful way while fulfilling the duties of their second or third choice of position. Even if algebraic equations and Punnett squares don’t get these students where they are going, perseverance definitely will.
The future is in good hands.