SMITHVILLE – Wayne County Schools Career Center seniors were commended for their achievements recently at the 16th annual Senior Recognition Ceremony at Wayne College in Orrville. Superintendent Kip Crain presented Riley Mertz, an AgriBusiness & Production student from Norton, and Isaac Ott, a Patient Care Technologies student from Northwestern as first-time Co-Students of the Year, out of the 26 top seniors in each career-tech program.
Mertz is the daughter of Jo Mertz of Barberton. “She has demonstrated outstanding character, service and leadership during her time at the Career Center,” said Crain. She is president of her trade class and the career center’s FFA chapter, National Honor Society, and Key Club. She is a member of student leadership council, the honor roll, and serves as a student ambassador.
In FFA, Mertz has participated in multiple contests and went to state competition in job interview, dairy handler, food science technology, and soil judging. She earned the Ohio FFA scholarship and the Connors State College livestock judging scholarship.
Mertz is the 2019 cider festival princess, 2021 Summit County Fair Queen, 2021 Wayne County, Ohio Miss United States Agriculture, and is the current Ohio Miss United States Agriculture. She is also the Summit County Fair Board President. Through FFA, she has earned her state degree and is working toward earning her American FFA degree. She also has an extensive list of volunteer activities for multiple organizations and events.
Ott is son of Kim and Jay Ott of Ashland and comes to the Career Center from Northwestern High School. He is a member of student leadership council, Health Occupation Students of America, Diversity Club, the honor roll, and WCSCC’s drug free club. He placed first locally and in districts for HOSA’s CPR and first aid competitions and he qualified for state HOSA competition. He has won scholarships from the New Pittsburg Lions Club, Ruritan Club, and won the career center’s Ambassador Scholarship. His academic awards include two-time career center student of the month, honor roll, high honor roll, and multiple class act and a-game awards.
Scholarship winners, announced by Kai Burns of Smithville, were Alexis Mellott of Norwayne, “Tillie” Lorincz Scholarship; Isaac Ott of Northwestern and Sarah Crist of Chippewa, Ambassador Scholarships; Kayla Ling of Wooster and Elizabeth Klingman of Norwayne, Edward, Arlene and Kaye Maibach Scholarships; Hannah Schlauch of Triway and Tori Batdorf of Chippewa, WCJVSEA Scholarships; Riley Mertz of Norton, Lynn Welker Memorial Scholarship and the Wooster Kiwanis Club Scholarship; Brynn Mowrer of Norwayne, Sara Weikert Memorial Scholarship; and Morgan Dotterer of Norwayne and Sydney Douglas of Smithville, Dale and Joann Widmer Foundation Scholarship. Scholarships were awarded in a separate ceremony earlier in the day.
Ott served as emcee, Reece Wilson of Wooster led the Pledge of Allegiance. Bre Shearer and Sarah Crist, both of Chippewa, introduced guests and four Distinguished Alumni. Mertz and Rilee Richardson of Wooster introduced student achievements awarded over the last two years, National Honor Society members, and Student Ambassadors. Gianna Boyce of Triway recognized winners of local, regional and state competitions. Lilie Haskins of Norwayne presented a, “Year in Review” to her fellow classmates.
“I think I speak for us all when I say that the past two or three years have been incredibly hard for us as students,” said Haskins as she reflected on the seniors’ last few years. “Our time at the Career Center was crazy challenging, but crazy rewarding. I came to the Career Center to find myself as much as I came here to find a career. I am now faced with countless job opportunities and networks and people who would do anything to support me. The Career Center was the right choice for me because it taught me that even if you ended up somewhere completely different than where you thought you would be, you’re on the right path- because it is your path to take. Nobody else’s.”
Receiving two-year perfect attendance plaques were Sarah Koontz, homeschooled, and Autumn Duncan of Northwestern.
Top seniors received plaques: Mertz, AgriBusiness & Production; Samuel Denning of Orrville, Ag Mechanics/Power Technologies; Kaitlyn Thomas of Waynedale, Animal Science; Nathan Henretty of Chippewa, Automotive Technologies; Ashton Rock of Wooster, Buildings & Grounds; Ling, Business; Tyler Mackey of Wooster, Construction Technologies.
Makayla Yarman of Rittman, Cosmetology; Eric Miller of Triway, Criminal Justice; Seth Collins of Orrville, Culinary Arts; Brianna Coleman of Wooster, Dental Assisting; Christian Dull of Rittman, Diesel Technologies; Klingman, Early Childhood Education & Care.
Brandon Nehrenz of Triway, Electronics; Isaac Leggett of Orrville, Engineering Technologies; Dotterer, Exercise Science & Sports Medicine; Boyce, Graphic Design & Photography; Burns, Hospitality.
Koontz, Interactive Media; Darwin Martin of Triway, Machining Technologies; Lindsey Coffee of Norwayne, Medical Assisting; Ott, Patient Care Technologies; Trevor Hess of Norwayne, Powerline Technologies.
Schlauch, Practical Nursing; Lydia Styer of Triway, Robotics & Automation; Gaven Bee of Waynedale, Welding Technologies.
Each senior and 13th year student crossed the stage and received a certificate for their many achievements from their Career-Tech instructor.