MOUNT VERNON — “If you think you can do it, then you can,” keynote speaker Ruby Miller told the students at the 2009 Alternative Center Awards ceremony.
She then told the true tale of a young man who had no confidence in himself during his high school days, and found that school was therefore very difficult for him. With caring support from his mother, family and friends, he overcame his low self-esteem, worked through academic probation at Ohio State University-Mansfield to make the dean’s list, and graduated from the main campus three years later summa cum laude. He then went to law school, won a scholarship to a school in England, and is now a Judge Advocate General officer with the U.S. Air Force.
Miller said that boy was her son, Wes, and gave the students the same words of wisdom she gave Wes.
“Look in the mirror,” she said. “You have one best friend and that best friend is you. Believe in yourself.
“Sometimes things don’t go right the first time,” Miller continued, “but you all have been given a second chance. Please take that second chance.”
Surprising his parents, Capt. Wes Miller flew in for the award event and seconded his mother’s advice. He also encouraged the students and their families to celebrate successes rather than dwelling on difficulties.
“This night is all about you and your families,” he said. “Congratulations.”
The students honored for their achievements, and their families, were treated to a celebratory dinner prepared and served by volunteers from the West Side Church of the Nazarene.
Led by administrator Glenn Marchal, Alternative Center staff members presented certificates of achievment to the following:
Student Patriots: Anthony Beach, Erik Camp, Chris Devore, Dakota Eckert, Nathan Hay and Eddie Jesser.
Office Helpers: Hilary Myers, Cheyenne Smith, Shelby Spence and Lisa Turbeville.
Art Awards: Eddie Jesser, Ray Martin, Rayne Ponce and Matt Robison.
Grandma Betty Tutor Award: Sean Sivits and Shelby Spence.
Student of the Quarter: Logan Hall, Chris Kandel and Jordan Smith.
Outstanding Attendance: Garret Beltz, Latetia Booher, Jonathon Butcher, Chris Devore, Morgan Fath, Sara Gillespie, Jeremy Moran, Rayne Ponce, Matt Robison, Sam Spence, Coty Steiner, Jennifer Turbeville, Tommy Ward and Isaac Wyrick.
Academic Achievement: Ashley Ashbrook, Garret Beltz, Yawna Everhart, Sara Gillespie, Logan Hall, Christa Hart, Blaine Pflieger, Rayne Ponce, Nick Rambo, Matt Robison, Jordan Smith, Liz Snyder and Coty Steiner.
Most Improved: Logan Hall, Jason Matis, Blaine Pflieger, Liz Snyder, Chris Spurling, Coty Steiner and Jennifer Turbeville.
Exemplary Behavior: Ashley Ashbrook, Raymond Beaver, Latetia Booher, Shawn Campos, Krystal Day, Morgan Fath, Sara Gillespie, Jacob Groah, Logan Hall, Chris Kandel, Chris Spurling, Coty Steiner and Sara Whitt.
Individual Classroom Awards: Sara Gillespie, Jacob Groah, Chris Kandel, Hilary Myers, Shon Shearer, Jeff Smith, Chris Spurling, Jennifer Turbeville and Andrew Wilson.
Acceptance to the career center: Jacob Adkins, Dustin Alspach, Demi Baumgarner, Nathan Frasure, Nathan Hay, Eddie Jesser, Kody Mayer, Chad McKnight, Amanda Schulz, Jordan Smith and Melvin Yeatman.
Graduates: Jessica Alberts, Alex Bales, Josh Beeman, Shayna Bethel, Carla Black, Rick Black, Kayce Bonnette, Latitia Booher, James Cantu, Morgan Fath, Megan Garee, Cameron Grandstaff, Briana Grubaugh, Miranda Grubaugh, Chealsie Harris.
Kayla Hinkle, Stacey Hunt, Monyca Jones, Brandon King, Travis Mayer, Tony McDonald, Hilary Myers, Taylor Myers, Brad Neitzelt, Felicia Nelson, Cassie Oliver, Tim Redmond, Kami Rosario, Alicia Rudd, Robert Salter, Eric Shultz, Sean Sivits, Jeff Smith, Josh Smith, Leeza Smith, Shelby Spence, Chris Spurling and Ieshia Taylor.
College Acceptance: Tony McDonald and Hilary Myers.