SIDNEY — When Lehman Catholic announced a new curriculum offering in 2014 titled “Teen Leadership Corps,” many students did not realize that the class was part of a movement in northern Ohio schools begun by Mary Ann Creamer, of Sandusky, to promote leadership skills in the young.
Designed “to prepare future generations for a lifelong commitment to leadership and service,” Teen Leadership Corps (TLC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides a full year curriculum, teacher training, course materials and textbooks, instructional resources, and ongoing support and grant funding opportunities. Now in its eighth year and implemented in 21 northern Ohio high schools, TLC is the only accredited academic/service leadership program for high school students in the state, and possibly the nation. Funding is supported by a number of corporate partners including Cedar Point, Pepperidge Farm, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians.
The 21 schools in the program include seven Catholic schools including Lima Central Catholic and Lehman Catholic in Sidney. The only other west central Ohio area school in the program is Versailles.
In May, TLC held an end-of-the-school-year celebration for all current students and alumni of the program at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky. Students from the different schools were mixed into 21 teams who competed in a scavenger hunt. A list of riddles led students to various locations in the park where they were to take photos and upload them to Flicker. Lehman junior Hannah Fogt was on the winning team.
After a buffet lunch, scholarships were awarded based on written essays students had submitted. Two of the 11 scholarship winners were from Lehman. Cassidy Hemm received a $500 scholarship and Sara Fuller received a $250 scholarship.
“TLC has helped me to expand on my knowledge in regards to my personal strengths and weaknesses and has shown me how I can effectively contribute to a team,” said scholarship winner Cassidy Hemm. “I am truly grateful for the opportunities that TLC has given me to grow, learn, communicate, and serve my classmates and my community. The scholarship will help me further these skills as I enter the U-Lead program at Miami University.”
Hemm, the daughter of Susan Hemm and Jeff Hemm, of Piqua, has been accepted into the University Honors Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“I really enjoyed working as a team in TLC and how the leadership skills I was learning helped me on the soccer field,” said Sara Fuller, the other Lehman scholarship winner. “My favorite activities were writing letters to those serving in the military and our ‘Re-Joyce Day’ at school where we created a special day for our head custodian, Joyce Hughes, who gives so much of herself to her job at Lehman.”
Next fall, Fuller will continue her leadership development at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, where she will play soccer and enter a five-year comprehensive bachelors/masters program in athletic training. She is the daughter of William and Jeanne Fuller, of Sidney.
Lehman also won a third place trophy for their submission in the TLC video competition. Each school was eligible to submit a 3-5 minute video in which class members explained why they lead. Lehman’s video included clips from activities they held during the year like the 5K Color Run. Each student in the class presented a word describing leadership like “energy” and “motivation.”
According to Lehman’s TLC teacher Melissa Safreed, TLC has been a wonderful addition to the Lehman curriculum. “It is exciting to see students who have leadership potential develop it throughout the school year in a classroom setting,” said Safreed. “I can see my students gaining confidence as they work through the materials and apply the concepts to service projects that benefit the school and the community.”
Class size for TLC is limited and enrollment is only open to juniors and seniors. Prospective students must submit an application indicating their interest in learning more about leadership and being of service to others.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.