Holtz HOF Announces MVP Award Recipients

The Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley MVP Award was designed to recognize a person or organization for outstanding volunteer work to benefit the local community.

This year's recipients came to our attention through their nomination for the "20 Under 20" recognition, and upon reading of their dedicated teamwork we realized they were the very embodiment of the MVP Award.

These young ladies came together in Leetonia under the auspices of the global non-profit organization called Destination Imagination. They formed a team called the "Fierce Five," and in 2015 took on the Outreach Project portion of the Destination Imagination challenge. In the past two years they have logged well over 500 community volunteer hours. And they are only 14 years old.

They won first place at the Regional Competition in 2016 and 2017 and represented Leetonia Middle School at the state tournament each year. This year they placed third at state and went on to compete at the global level in Tennessee, where they placed 17th out of 75 teams. The team began as Haleigh Brock, Olivia Clark, Miya Dolan, Delaney Roller and Katie Soupal. Delaney has moved on to other pursuits, and Emma Kemp, 16, has joined the team. Tonight we honor all six young ladies for their dedication to community service.
They are guided in their efforts by team manager Melissa Brock, who is assisted by Beth Hall.

This year, the team focused on Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness and fundraised $250 to donate to Family Recovery in Lisbon, Ohio. They won first place at the regional competition and received the Renaissance Award. Progressing on to the state level, they won first place in the secondary level and advanced to the global finals at the University of Tennessee. They also participated in the OhioCan Rally in May, helping to "embrace, educate and empower those whose lives have been impacted by substance abuse."
Some of the team's other completed projects are as follows:

  • Organized a toiletries drive at the school, collecting more than 1,000 items to donate to St. Patrick's Food Pantry.
  • Answered K-4 Santa letters for about 200 students, picking favorite letters and meeting with the school nurse to see which families needed assistance. They went shopping for five families and delivered their presents.
  • Made sugar cookies, created a BINGO game and visited Essex Assisted Living to spend the day with residents, playing games, singing songs and talking to residents for hours.
  • Made fleece tie blankets to be donated to Salem Hospital for newborns.
  • Organized a movie night at the school and used the money raised to buy Easter hams for families in the community.
  • Partnered with an organization to hold a community Easter Egg hunt. Prepared and served a free meal to all families who attended. Provided photos with the Easter Bunny for children attending.
  • Upon request, the team created an Earth Day display for Leetonia Public Library and attended to assist with the observation, also donating a tree to be planted at the library.
  • Organized a community garage sale with all funds raised being placed in an account to benefit those in need in the community.
  • Chosen to be part of a grant in which they made an Energy Bike (NOPEC Energy) -- a project in which they spent three days in Cleveland learning to read electrical plans, cut and connect electrical wires and build the bike.
  • Raised donations and organized a spaghetti dinner, inviting the community to partake in a free meal.
  • Made "love rocks" with the fourth graders to explain how a small act of kindness makes a difference.
  • Assisted with the PTO's father-daughter dance.
  • Organized a formal spring fling dance for seventh and eighth graders.
  • Volunteered at the LASA area youth tournament.

The team also will be partnering with village hall to assist in fundraising for a Splash Pad for the city.
In addition to all of their volunteer work, each of the girls has outstanding grades and also participates in several sports and other extra-curricular activities. 

For more information about Destination Imagination, go to www.destinationimagination.org