Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons

A wake-up call to all cynics, the world is still awesome! The young, hardworking, and creative minds on this year’s 20 Under 20 winners are proof that the future is bright. These young people are learning software programs, enhancing their soft skills, working in skilled trades, writing code, and developing technology to help our local businesses. Our local business community, teachers and administrators nominated more than 50 nominees. The final product: 20 students in 20 industries changing the course of business.

The 20 Under 20 Awards are a joint effort by Darke, Mercer, and Auglaize counties that make the awards possible. The young people being honored are our future.

The 20 Under 20 Awards were developed to recognize students, educators, and businesses collaborating to help prepare the next generation of workers in our region. The 20 winners must be under the age of 20 and residents in Darke, Mercer, or Auglaize counties. They must also be involved in part-time employment, internships, co-op programs, mentoring, entrepreneurship, or other business/education partnerships while in high school, post-secondary, or adult education/training programs. The nominated students were carefully chosen by a selection committee.

2020 is the fifth year for the awards to recognize these business/education partnerships which are so important to addressing our region’s future workforce needs. The awards are sponsored by Auglaize Mercer Business Education Alliance (AMBE), Darke County Economic Development, and Hometown Opportunity.

However, this year’s Coronavirus pandemic, put a crimp in the organization’s normal plans to honor the awardees.

Students, schools, and businesses are typically celebrated during a spring banquet, but with the current situation, this was not possible this year. All three members of the partnership — student, educator, and business — are recognized, because all roles are essential for success. This year our award winners represent collaborations from a wide variety of ‘in demand’ careers including healthcare, public safety, manufacturing, skilled trades, information technology, transportation, technical skills, and professional fields. The number of school and employer partnerships is growing to help develop our future workforce. Parents and students are seeing the value of these opportunities, which often include education without high debt, gaining valuable work experience in a learning environment, and gathering information about future careers based on real-life experience.

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.

Mercer and Auglaize County Winners:

Justin Tenkman, son of Ron & Dina Tenkman, works at Crown Equipment Corporation, 2019 graduate of New Bremen High School and attends the Ohio State University

Danielle Winner, daughter of Dale and Cheryl Winner, works at Garmann Miller Architects, 2019 graduate of Versailles High School and attends the University of Cincinnati

Bryce Hemmelgarn, son of Mitch and Gina Hemmelgarn, works at Cotterman & Company, graduate of St. Marys Memorial High School and attended Tri Star Career Compact

Luke Jacobs, son of David & Diane Jacobs, works at Mark One Manufacturing, graduate of Minster High School

Thomas Evers, son of Don and Marie Evers, works at NIDEC Minster, graduate of Marion Local High School

Stella Fear, daughter of Dave Fear and Jodi Butler, completed certification at Mercer County EMS Department, graduate of New Bremen High School

Joel Castorena, son of Joel and Linda Castorena, works at Buds Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM SRT, graduate of Celina High School and attended Tri Star Career Compact

Kristin Grieshop, daughter of Brian and Jenny Grieshop, works at Mercer County Educational Service Center (MCESC), 2019 graduate Marion Local High School and attends the Wright State Lake Campus

Preston Browning, son of Kevin & Trenna Browning, worked at GLM Transport, graduate of Parkway High School and Vantage Career Center

Lucas Kaylor, son of Brian & Holly Kaylor, works at Randall Bearings, graduate of St. Marys Memorial High School and attended Tri Star Career Compact

Lucy Spencer, daughter of Doug and Andrea Spencer, volunteers at Grand Lake Health System, graduate of St. Marys Memorial High School

Dylan Steinke, son of Craig and Amy Steinke, works at Celina Insurance Group, graduate of New Knoxville High School

Gavin Voskuhl, son of Mitch and Deb Voskuhl, works at Rose Construction, graduate of Coldwater High School and attended Tri Star Career Compact

Ethan Finke, son of Ryan and Tammy Finke, works at Pax Machine Works, graduate of Celina High School and attended Tri Star Career Compact

Darke County Winners:

Phoenix Holliday, son of Amber Nicole Garrett, graduate of Greenville High School, SVG Chevrolet

Caleb Coppess, son of Peter and Angela Coppess, graduate of Greenville High School, Family Health Services

Madison Furlong, graduate of Franklin Monroe, Village Green Health Campus

Kegan Fair, son of Cindy and Dennis Fair, graduate of Bradford High School, Crane Pumps and Systems

Ross Dapore, son of Brian and Kelly Dapore, graduate of Ansonia High School, Dapore Brothers

Anna Combs, graduate of Greenville High School, Greenville City School