There are many nights when employees of the Greene County Daily World lay their heads on their pillow and feel good about what they accomplished that day. Thursday night was one of those nights.
Unfortunately, in today’s culture, small-town newspapers get lumped in with the national media when the topic turns to politics and “fake news.” So you can imagine some of the emails, phone calls and other conversations we have with our readers.
But that’s a story for another day. Today, I want to share something I know my staff is extremely proud to talk about. And I’m proud to share.
The newspaper’s second annual Greene County’s Bright Future banquet was Thursday night at the Roy Clark Community Building in Linton. Ten students from around Greene County were honored for going the extra mile, either at school or by helping others in their community and beyond.
The 11 students (two were nominated together) were Emma Brinson/Suzie Ronk of Linton, Mason Ellis of Bloomfield, J.W. Howard of Eastern Greene, Kristen McVicar of Shakamak, Emily Neighbors of Bloomfield, Emma Records of White River Valley, Hayley Schantz of Bloomfield, Ian Staggs of White River Valley, Sydney Stahl of White River Valley, and Malea Toon of Bloomfield.
We asked our readers to nominate students from the area, and we had many more this year. It was extremely difficult for the judges to narrow the list to 10, and picking a Shining Star from the group took a while. I know from speaking with the judges, they narrowed the 10 to three and then reviewed the nominees until they had a winner. They put a 30-minute timeframe on their discussion, but it took longer.
In this case, it wasn’t quantity over quality. It was both.
Staggs, a sophomore at White River Valley and the son of Keith and Jill Staggs, was named the winner. He truly is an inspiration for his works at WRV, his church and beyond.
Some of the judges commented: “He’s way more mature than a sophomore in high school” and “He’s got it together for a teenager.” One judge shared, “I was told he didn’t even tell me everything he does.”
The other students could easily have been named the Shining Star. You can read their stories at gcdailyworld.com .
Thank you to our co-sponsors for the evening. They include the Greene County Foundation, McDonald’s of Linton, Greggs & Reid, Shakamak Pharmacy, Huckleberry Winery, and the city of Linton. And thanks to Pizza Villa in Linton and Jasonville, and Casey’s in Linton, for providing pizzas for the evening. Also, thanks to my wife, Deb, for making enough brownies for all the guests.
Each student also received the following:
A bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies from Barbara Hanauer of Bloomfield, a coupon for a free personal pan pizza and order of breadsticks from Pizza Hut of Linton, candy and other goodies from Linton SuperValu, one free day pass to the Linton pool courtesy of the city of Linton, a coupon for a kids meal from Wendy’s of Linton, a free kids meal coupon from Long John Silvers of Linton, a customized keepsake T-shirt from Romans Warrior Foundation, a tactical backpack from Romans Warrior Foundation and American Arms Around Heroes, a customized initial tag donated by Rachael McKee of Linton and free tickets for Frightmares Haunted House in Linton from Greene County Daily World staff writer Kristen Inman.
Our Shining Star, Staggs, received:
• A free three-day, two-night stay for four anywhere in the U.S. from the Greene County Daily World. The trip includes two nights in a hotel, breakfast, and you can also snow ski or play golf if that’s available.
• A free month of lessons from the Greene County Martial Arts Institute in Linton for him and a friend.
• A voucher for a free 30-minute mini session with five images from Jessie Lee Photography.
• A $25 Visa gift card from John Mensch of First Security Insurance.
To say it was a great evening would be an understatement. The finalists are proof our future is in good hands.
And a huge pat on the back goes to the newspaper’s staff for coordinating this event. Thank you to general manager/advertising manager Christy Lehman, editor Sabrina Westfall, reporters Patti Danner and Kristen Inman, sports writers Terry Schwinghammer and Andrew Bowen, and advertising representative Tina Davis. I know how much time you guys spent putting this together. Thank you!
Hopefully, when your head hit the pillow last night you had a smile of satisfaction.
To our Shining Star and other finalists, thank you for all you do. You are making a difference.
Chris is the publisher of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (812) 847-4487.