The 20 young people selected here represent a cross-section of outstanding young people up and down the Upper Ohio Valley who exemplify the qualities of future Hall of Famers -- excelling in their pursuits and giving back to their communities. Descriptive words that came up time and again in the nominations were "motivated," "leadership," "integrity," discipline," "respect," "commitment," "intelligence" and "compassion."
The honorees' credentials listed are according to what was submitted by their nominators and are by no means inclusive of their total accomplishments.
One nomination form referenced a Jackie Robinson quote that accurately applies to all of the nominees we received for this recognition: "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
The Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame is proud to recognize these young people and others like them in our Tri-State Area. We applaud their contributions, eagerly look forward to their future achievements, and thank them for being "important."
A permanent plaque of honor recognizing the following students has been placed on display at the Hall of Fame.
Lauren Balmenti, 19, Negley: Nationally Recognized Certified Dental Assistant (Ohio Valley College of Technology), Ohio Radiology license, volunteer with the "Jeans 2 Scrubs" program, Resource/Health Fair volunteer, OVCT Career Fair, also volunteers at local animal shelter.
Emily Beck, 18, East Liverpool: participated in volleyball and lettered in cross country, soccer, basketball and track at Beaver Local High School; English Honors, Masque Club, Outdoor Adventure Club, Varsity B and Leo Club, in which she was an officer, at BLHS; Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Akron and hopes to become an astronaut.
Grace Beck, 18, East Liverpool: participated in volleyball and lettered in cross country, tennis, basketball and track at Beaver Local High School; English Honors, Masque Club, Outdoor Adventure Club, Varsity B and Leo Club at BLHS; ran her own youtube channel and worked as a Fit model for Dicks Sporting Good in Pittsburgh, modeling in national ads for the company. She is majoring in Visual Communications Design at Kent State University in Kent.
Antonella Brkich, 10, Beaver: She and her friend, fellow nominee Gianna Zarillo, formed a non-profit organization called The Giving Girls to make a difference in their community and the world. Some of their projects have included sending nearly 100 care packages to soldiers overseas in 2016; recognizing local police on Police Appreciation Day 2017 with pizza, cake and cards; selling handmade bracelets and donating $300 to the local humane society; fundraising nearly $500 to donate to 2017 hurricane victims; establishing a free food pantry outside the Beaver County YMCA for area needy. Antonella is a student at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Beaver, where she gets mostly A’s. She was named a student of the month in Pittsburgh Catholic for her charitable efforts.
Riley Britt, 16, East Liverpool: straight-A student at Beaver Local High School, where she led the first ever Back to School Bash for which she raised funds to provide all 1,878 students with a backpack filled with school supplies; active in a variety of clubs as well as playing three sports; volunteers with student lock-in, reverse raffle and district events; NEOMED summer medical camp, volunteers at the hospital, contributes to weekly/monthly school video newsletter.
Luke Call, 18, Wellsville: straight-A student, received a 30 on his ACT, participates in baseball and football at Beaver Local High School, where he has overcome several injuries and battled back to compete; Leo Club, National Honor Society, Buckeye Boys State, Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership, Breakfast with Santa volunteer, assisted with landscape installation at the school's entrance, Rotary Scholar of the month, aids in elementary classes at BL.
Jaliyah Hubbard, 17, Steubenville: 2018 valedictorian of Steubenville High School, four years of softball (4 letters), four years of volleyball (3 letters), three years of cheering (2 letters), two years of basketball (1 letter), one year of swimming (1 letter), member of Nike Club Y-teens, drama club and Key Club, Rotary-Interact Club, OVAC Varsity Club, three-year academic letter winner collecting 30 hours each of community and school volunteer hours, National Honor Society and National Society of High School Scholars.
Nathan Keenan, 18, Toronto: Toronto High School musicals, THS Band, barbershop quartet, acapella choir, track, football, Beta Club, Civics Challenge Team, Weight Lifting Club, Chess Club, Choir, started a computer programming club, Cub Scout and Boy Scouts, youth bowling, Steuben Striders Track Club, five years as Steubenville Herald Star paper carrier, National Merit Scholarship Program commended student, Principal's List every grading period, Honors Band, Close-Up Program, Buckeye Boys State, OVAC Varsity Board Representative, Scholar Athlete of the Week WTOV9, American Legion of Ohio Americanism and Government Test Award, National Honor Society, Poetry Slam Winner, Hugh O'Brien State Leadership Seminar, two-time Jefferson/Harrison Counties Regional Spelling Bee Winner, two-time Scripps National Spelling Bee participant, Gladys Waggoner Award, Gary Wilson Award, Lions Club Good Award, Salvation Army bell ringer, St. Joseph's Church altar server, Scouting for Food, First Presbyterian Church Bible School helper, Red Cross Blood Drive volunteer, Special Olympics volunteer, tutors students in French.
Mitchell Kelly, 18, Lisbon: United Local High School varsity soccer (serving as speaking captain on field and giving pre-game motivational pep talk), U & Me Mentoring program assisting seventh graders, National Honor Society, participant in choir and musical productions, completes well over 40 to 50 community service hours per year, volunteered countless hours in last year's Presidential Election and local elections; has applied for the U.S. Naval Academy.
Carsyn L. Hoppel, 19, East Liverpool: Beaver Local National Honor Society, Leo Club, English Honors, S.A.D.D. Club, Varsity B Club, class treasurer, student council, yearbook staff editor, varsity golf team, varsity soccer team, varsity track team; golf awards include 1st Team All Ohio, All-Ohio Athletics Academics Award, Most Valuable Player, Coaches Award, Low Medalist Award, 2nd Team All-Ohio and 4-year letter winner; 2017 prom queen, 2018 fall homecoming Queen, performed in "Oklahoma" and "Grease," Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Camp, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Conference, Columbiana Youth Coalition. Over 500 hours of community service. Plans to major in nursing at Youngstown State University.
Kennedy McGeehan, 13, Newell: perfect grade point average at Oak Glen Middle School (including the high school algebra class she is enrolled in), Student Council, OGMS News Crew, lead role in "The Little Match Girl," active member of Sacred Heart Church, volunteers at Good Shepherd's Lunch at St. Stephen's Church, volunteers for Chester Lions Club, most recently assisting with their community Easter Egg hunt; competitive gymnast (a sport she began at age 3), accumulating 28 first-place medals and competing at the international level in Orlando, Fla.
Marques McHaffie, 19, Chester: U.S. Attorney Advocate for Action representative, Youth Leadership Team member, W.Va. Boys State representative, National Honor Society, Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Academic Team, Lions Scholar of the Month, W.Va. Standout Athlete, Varsity Basketball Hustle Award, Oak Glen varsity basketball and baseball captain and 3-year letterman, homecoming and prom committee, Key Club, Yearbook, Kick for a Cure volunteer, Halloween trick-or-trunk volunteer; founder of Project ROSES (Reaching Out Seeing Everyone Smile) at Oak Glen, raising $800 to distribute 500 roses to females at the school and throughout the community at nursing homes and restaurants; places flags on graves of service men and woman at Shadow Lawn and Locust Hill cemeteries annually; Route 30 highway clean-up volunteer; West Liberty University baseball and flag football intramurals, and self-employed with grass cutting jobs. Majors in exercise physiology at WLU and plans to become a physician assistant.
Ryan Miller, 18, East Liverpool: 2018 valedictorian of Wellsville High School, National Honor Society A Honor Roll, American Legion Boys National Finalist, Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award, George Eastman Young Leaders Award, All OVAC Academic Team, Columbiana County Youth Coalition Summit, Buckeye Boys State Delegate, Outstanding Junior Boy, Coca-Cola Scholar, president of Simple Act of Kindness Club, Academic Challenge, ACTION, Art Club, president pro tem student council, Thespians, Ebony and Ivory, Varsity W Club, Publications sports manager, Future Educators Club, member of WHS football team 4 years (captain junior and senior year), honorable mention ITLC league, member of bowling team 4 years (president 2018), member of track team (shot and discus), bowling, baseball, member of Village of Wellsville Business Grant Committee, student representative for Wellsville Board of Education Advisory Committee, member of Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce, director of Tiger Closet (which he established in 2015), assisted student council raising money for sweatshirts for needy students, Wendy's High School Heisman State Finalist, Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist.
Anna Paterson, 17, Salem: ranked 2nd in graduating class at United Local High School, volleyball, softball, National Honor Society, Ruriteens Club, 2nd team All-ITCL pitcher 2015, 1st team All-ITCL pitcher 2016, unanimous 1st team All-ITCL pitcher 2017, 2nd team All-District pitcher 2017, OHSAA Award for Excellence and Exemplary Display of Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award Winner 2017, school records for single season and career in most statistical categories.
Jacob Pittman, 18, Salem: 2018 valedictorian of Salem High School, 16 advanced placement courses, AP Scholar with Honors, Key Club class representative and lieutenant governor of District 21, founded an environmental club at the school.
Samantha Riggs, 17, Salineville: graduated from high school one year early and is just 10 months away from receiving her associate's degree in Applied Business at Ohio Valley Technical College, where she has perfect attendance and a perfect grade point average; communications manager for marketing class, which is raising money for the Humane Society of Columbiana County; serves as business ambassador for the school's business program and mentors new students.
Cassandra Robbins, 15, East Liverpool: "Best in Show" Calcutta Art Contest, Columbiana Career Center Art Show, Honors Band, volunteer at S.O.I. fish fry.
Parker Sherry, 16, East Palestine: three years as class president at East Palestine High School and in top five of his class all three years; incentive scholarship winner, youth sports volunteer, peer tutor, clothing and food bank volunteer, football, basketball, track (earning six varsity letters), Columbiana County All-Stars - first team, All-ITCL League - first team, Quad County All-Stars - first team, NEO Inland District Team - honorable mention, WKBN Big 22 NE Ohio/Western PA selection, WFMJ Taco Bell Player of the Week (2016, 2017), Vindictor's Vindy Blitz Player of the Week, Max Prep/Marines Player of the Game Sept. 8, Max Prep/Marines Offensive Player of the Game Sept. 15, Under Armour All-American Camp, Under Armour Rivals Quarterback Challenge; school records including football - passing yards in a season, touchdowns in a season, touchdowns in a career, passing yards in a single game and touchdowns in a single game; basketball - single game assist.
Jared Wilson, 17, Columbiana: Division III Golf State Champ (2016, 2017), set Columbiana High School record and course record at Valley Golf Club; AJGA Trans-American All-American, First Team All-Conference and All-NE Ohio; averages 300 yards off the tee; All-Conference Team in basketball; carries a 4.72 grade point average and scored a 35 on his ACT; National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes; active in his church and community with more than 75 service hours. He has received a golf scholarship to attend Wake Forest University.
Gianna Zarillo, 10, Beaver: She and her friend, fellow nominee Antonella Brkich, formed a non-profit organization called The Giving Girls to make a difference in their community and the world. Some of their projects have included sending nearly 100 care packages to soldiers overseas in 2016; recognizing local police on Police Appreciation Day 2017 with pizza, cake and cards; selling handmade bracelets and donating $300 to the local humane society; fundraising nearly $500 to donate to 2017 hurricane victims; establishing a free food pantry outside the Beaver County YMCA for area needy. Gianna is an A student at Dutch Ridge Elementary. She also has collected donations and made care packages for the homeless.