For more than 60 years, the Ohio School Board Association has held a student achievement fair to recognize the outstanding achievements of students across Ohio.
It doesn’t matter if they come from a wealthy district or an economically challenged one, the student programs at the fair show kids at their very best.
Too many to talk to all of them, I visited with several Monday.
One of the first booths I stopped at was for a group of 6th graders from Butler County that are creating 3D printed prosthetic hands and plan to ship them around the world to other kids in need.
“I think that these hands will inspire others to keep doing this thing to help other people,” said Addyson Johnson, one of the students.
Technology usage was on display throughout the hall as several schools were with robotics, while others had a 3D printer or laser cutting machine in tow.
But not everything was about physical creation, there were exchanges of ideas.
Politics was on display in one booth, while another focused on understanding differences.
That booth was from Noble County where they exchange students with Worthington City and Whitehall City Schools so that kids from all of them are exposed to different living and learning environments.
No matter where they were from, the students learned something they didn’t know or realize about the other settings and the opportunities, or lack thereof, available to their peers.
The financial wherewithal was clearly evident to the students from rural and urban schools when they visited the suburban district.
The biggest difference seen there was access to technology and a wider variety of sports.
A student from Whitehall said he enjoyed the opportunity to play lacrosse, something not offered at his school and likewise enjoyed visiting a farm when he went to Noble County.
A female student from Noble County admitted she thought she knew more before visiting the urban and suburban district but clearly has more to learn. Not having to travel great distances, and spending a long time getting there, just to gain access to opportunities made an impact on her.
The student I talked to from the suburban district quickly realized how fortunate she was to have access to the educational and recreational opportunities the urban and rural students didn’t easily have access to.
“I used to think like, ‘oh yeah, like everyone has this. Like, no; no, everyone doesn’t have this and we have to actually cherish what we have,” said Noor Osseh, a student from Worthington. “Everyone should just be able to have the same education, the same opportunities, so everyone can grow up, be successful in their life, go to a good college, and that’s really important to me because knowing how much stuff we have I want to give back, I want to make sure they get what they need.”
All sorts of ways for students to excel were on display throughout the hall. There were a handful of culinary programs cooking up samples for attendees.
There was even a school district selected to show off their e-sports team, a burgeoning activity that is catching on all over the world that offers young people who are technologically savvy and interested in what it may have in store for their future a gateway to a possible 21st century career.
Throughout the day several performance groups from all over the state entertained the fair with song, dance and rhythmic beats.
The groups ranged from a humble few to a throng of singers and dancers; and all of them excelled in what they came to do.
It didn’t matter if they came from a small district barely getting by or a large district with more bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at, every program and district represented at the fair showed how Ohio students continue to amaze and impress.