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Finding hope from our local youth

Kids just aren’t the same these days. They don’t know how to work. They are selfish. Caught up in their devices. Unable to handle adversity.

These things are often said about the next generation, and in my opinion, often said lazily about the next generation.

Are youths different than those of the past? In some ways, yes. Do they work different and value things different than those of the past? Again, yes. Are they more connected tech-wise than ever before. Yes, but there is definitely some good to that.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been able to witness standout students in a number of our towns.

I was part of a tour of Columbian High School students at The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin who resurrected the school’s high school newspaper. Thanks to help from teacher and advisor Kaylee Cottom, a number of Columbian students interested in news and digital created a new online publication that chronicles the happenings at the school.

The students were engaging, intelligent and polite. It was impressive to see.

The following week, the A-T hosted another Columbian student, a senior who is pursuing a future career in journalism. Again, she shared the same traits with the other students from Columbian whom we met. Engaging? Check. Intelligent? Check. Polite? Check. And, surprise, surprise, she gave us some good suggestions on how to reach young people through technology.

The whole experience gave me hope for the future of both our world and industry.

While in Findlay, I had a similar experience with a much younger set. I hosted the St. Michael Pack 319 Cub Scouts for a tour of our facility. The kids (and their parents) were great guests, asking excellent questions and truly soaking in what is a very unique industry during our hour tour. The kids were really neat, looking me in the eye and shaking my hand as they introduced themselves.

Again, my hope for the future was buoyed.

While in Fostoria, I attended the local Rotary Club where a pair of Fostoria High School students stood in front of the group and shared about their successes and a little about who they are. Talking in a room full of 30-plus businesspeople all older than them must have been challenging, but these students represented their school and themselves with class.

And last weekend I had the pleasure to observe a production of “Sister Act” at the school my wife teaches at, Carey High School. Any time I go to a production, concert or sporting event of high school students, I am always impressed with the talent and organization I see. And that certainly was the case with this enthusiastic group of Carey students, led by director Jennifer Hill.

These are not isolated incidents. As I’ve spent time on the campuses of the University of Findlay, Heidelberg University and Tiffin University, I have encountered polite, driven and successful students. I see the same from the youngsters I coach on my daughter’s YMCA basketball team, and the kids in my daughters’ dance class and soccer teams.

I’m a fan of the kids in our communities, and have seen evidence that there are future leaders across Northwest Ohio. Just as important, I’m impressed by the adults in our area — those who take the time to work with and teach our children, and those who raise their kids to be successful.

One of the best parts of a local newspaper is seeing so many names and faces of youngsters in its pages. You can find that every day in The Courier, The Advertiser-Tribune and Review Times.

I think it’s time our society stops looking for ways to put down the next generation, and starts to seek ways to build it up.

You don’t have to look far to see examples of hope in our youth.

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