BELLAIRE - Focusing on famous court cases, landmarks and railroads related to Bellaire, three Bellaire High School seniors earned grants this week while participating in the Local History Grant Program.
First place went to Timmy Martin while Taylor Strussion and Ryan Gill placed second and third, respectively.
The local history program is one of the scholarship programs operated by the Bellaire High School Endowment Fund, and help was received from corporate sponsors.
SCHOLARSHIP grants from the Bellaire High School Endowment Fund with help from two corporate sponsors were earned by three Bellaire seniors this week. Seated, from left, are the award winners, Taylor Strussion, second place, $1,500; Timmy Martin, first place, $2,500; and Ryan Gill, third, $1,000. In the second row are attorney and author Daniel L. Frizzi Jr., program adviser; Dana Ronevich of the Country Club Retirement Campus and Tom Poe, president of Belmont Savings Bank. Frizzi praised the assistance of the retirement campus and the bank, which are corporate sponsors.
"Famous Court Cases Involving Bellaire, Ohio" was the title of Martin's presentation. Wearing a black robe, giving a judicial look to his presentation, he revealed highlights of Bellaire court cases, beginning in the 1850s and continuing to more recent cases such as the village administrator and board of public affairs controversy and one related to the Bellaire Toll Bridge.
Strussion's "Bellaire Landmarks" not only provided information about natural landmarks, bridges, churches, the school's clock tower and the municipality's reputation as "The Glass City," but also her personal favorite - The House That Jack Built." She told about the work of Jacob Heatherington and his mule, Jack, in a coal mine. Also working at her husband's side in the mine was Heatherington's wife, Eliza, who is portrayed in a seated statue atop her grave in Greenwood Cemetery overlooking the town.
Gill wrote about "A Complex System of Railroads and Their Effect on an All-American Town." He told about the various railroads from their early beginnings and their significance for Bellaire.
Gill also pointed out that famous people, including Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Two Guns White Calf whose likeness is on the "Buffalo Nickel" traveled by train to Bellaire, and Denzel Washington was in town for a movie featuring an "Unstoppable" freight train.
Photos and documents enlivened the seniors' Power Point presentations and oral reports given at a public session.
"The students all did a fine job," said attorney Daniel L. Frizzi Jr., program adviser.
Awards have been given in the Local History Grant Program since 2007. The Bellaire High School Endowment Fund's grant for this program has been made possible through the ownership of the copyrights and the right to royalties from the sale of books written by Frizzi. His books concerning local history are "An American Railroad Portrait: People, Places and Pultney" and "Honoring Our Father: A Bicentennial Salute to Colonel John Hamm Sullivan."
Grant funds also are received from two corporate sponsors, Belmont Savings Bank and the Country Club Retirement Campus. Their representatives, Tom Poe of the Belmont Savings Bank and Dana Ronevich of the Country Club Retirement Campus, were introduced during the program by Ron Marling, chairman of the endowment fund board.
Referring to the corporate sponsors, Frizzi said,"If not for their generosity and their participation, we would not be able to fund $5,000 in awards."
Awards for the three students were $2,500 for Martin, $1,500 for Strussion and $1,000 for Gill. Upon satisfactory completion of their first semester or quarter of their freshman year at an institution of higher learning, the grants will be payable to the institutions.
Frizzi said students involved in the history competitions over the years have indicated there is "more history here than they ever realized."
He met with the current students over a five-month period. After topics were assigned through a drawing, the seniors researched their topics and submitted outlines "to make sure they're headed in the right direction," Frizzi added. They also selected photos from his local history collection and then worked on a Power Point presentation and wrote a paper.
Information acquired by the students can be from a variety of sources, but it is emphasized that no one but the student can prepare any portion of the Power Point or Tri-fold presentation, the paper or the oral presentation.
Students are judged on originality in content and design of presentation, accuracy, organization of material and completeness, and the overall effectiveness of their presentation. This year's judges were Carolyn Amadio, Catherine Tuttle and Betty Pokas.
Learning about local history isn't the only advantage of the program. Frizzi said it gives the seniors an opportunity to do the kind of things expected in higher education before they go on to college.
Pokas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.