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Published: Thursday, 4/14/2005

Toledo: 3 join 1st Youth Walk of Fame

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Start's Cheri Christopher, left, and Springfield's Jessie Zamichow. Start's Cheri Christopher, left, and Springfield's Jessie Zamichow.
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The names of Start High School's Cheri Christopher and Springfield High School students Andrew Screptock and Jessie Zamichow will become a permanent fixture at the Toledo Zoo on Saturday.

The three teenagers are not part of the summer work help or even the zoo's newest attractions, unless you want to count their contributions to their schools and the Toledo-area community.

The students are the inaugural inductees to the Coalition of Youth Enrichment's Youth Walk of Fame. The coalition is a subcommittee of the Community Partnership and made up of adult and youth representatives from local agencies, organizations, churches, and school groups that serve youth in Lucas County and the surrounding area.

The partnership's coalition addresses alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention and intervention issues among youth. Kathy Schnapp, a prevention specialist with the Community Partnership, said the Walk of Fame was created to highlight youth who are making a difference at their schools and in their community through their volunteer work.

She said students who are active and part of the communities are less likely to be involved in alcohol, drugs and other unhealthy activities. Ms. Schnapp said she hopes the Walk of Fame will bring the kind of attention to encourage other youths to take similar active roles.

Springfield's Andrew Screptock Springfield's Andrew Screptock
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Students were nominated for categories under service to others, personal courage, social enterprise, and sharing talents, Ms. Schnapp said. She said the names of the first winners will be on a plaque in the entry plaza at the Anthony Wayne Trail entrance of the Toledo Zoo, one of the coalition's partners.

Names of future winners will be honored in the same manner annually. A ceremony unveiling the plaque and the Walk of Fame will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the indoor theater of the Historic Museum of Science.

A ceremony honoring the students will take place in the African Lodge at the Toledo Zoo at 6:30 p.m. on April 22.

Mr. Screptock, 17, was honored in the service-to-others category, nominated by Springfield Local Schools superintendent Cynthia Beekley and the Springfield Local school board.

The senior honor student is the student representative on the school board, a member of the band and varsity baseball team. He said his participation in a program tutoring students at Crissey Elementary inspired him to want to become a teacher.

Miss Zamichow, 17, a hearing-impaired student at Springfield High School, was honored in the personal courage category. The sophomore was nominated by Springfield Schools Foundation executive director Kristina White. A starter on Springfield's girls junior varsity basketball and soccer teams, she won the local "Laws of Life" essay contest recently sponsored by the foundation.

"I am not nominating Jessie because she won the contest," Ms. White wrote in her nomination letter. "I'm also not nominating her because she cannot hear. I am nominating her because she reminds me that it is not the challenges that we are given that determine our strength - it is how we choose to deal with them that makes the difference."

Miss Christopher, 17, a junior, was honored in the sharing talents category. She was nominated by Jessica Salinas-Henry, a teen counselor for the St. Vincent Mercy Medical Health Center's Positive Choices program.

She is a teen leader and mentor in the Positive Choices program, an abstinence-until-marriage teen pregnancy prevention and character-building program. She represented the program during President George W. Bush's visit to Dayton, in May, 2004, and at the White House in December, 2004.

Miss Christopher is active in the Toledo Repertoire Theater, New Life Productions and ALMA Dance.

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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