2017 SOI Winners

BBB’s Students of Integrity Scholarships encourage young people to resolve ethical dilemmas based on real-life scenarios in essay form. The winners each received a $1,000 scholarship towards towards any post-secondary education and were announced during the 2017 BBB Center for Ethics Torch Awards. The awards were held Friday, October 20 in the Renaissance Hotel’s Burnham Hall.
October 20, 2017

The 2017 Students of Integrity Winners are:

Wyatt Grimm

Wyatt Grimm

Wyatt Grimm is a Ross High School senior. He describes his high school as a “tight-knit community; there’s a real family feel to the whole town,” he says fondly.

It’s a community that Wyatt is very much involved in. Through his church - at which he plays on the praise team and produces AV - he’s found plenty of opportunities to “give back” between soup kitchens, Vacation Bible School, and various Youth Group outreaches. His participation in the Hamilton County Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Committee - a group of students that are given the responsibility of selecting nonprofits worthy of grants - gives him another outlet for goodwill and hard work, and an invigorating challenge - one that has made an impact. Wyatt describes the YPC President as a positive example of leadership and the “eye-opening” nature of the work, “influencing the community behind-the-scenes.”

Wyatt’s sense of community is fundamental. He describes the close bond between his parents, his younger brother, and himself. “My parents have played a huge part on my outlook on the world and the values I hold for myself: sharing God’s love with everybody and trying to be an honest, hardworking human being and good Christian. It’s how they raised me - they led by example.”

It was that example that compelled Wyatt’s award-winning essay on ethics, for which he cites his values as motivation. Wyatt will take his scholarship prize to Hocking Hills to study Natural Resources Law Enforcement, with which he can work for the environment, regulating fishing and wildlife, and following his passion for the great outdoors - another product of his upbringing.

With his heart for the world around him and the people in it, Wyatt’s future seems filled with bright possibility and the goodness of community. For that, we say congratulations, Wyatt.

Sumedha Kappagantula

Sumedha Kappagantula

Sumedha Kappagantula goes to Lakota West High School, a large school filled with good friends and understanding teachers that have taught her to express her passions and values. There, she participates in Spanish Club (she has a flair for foreign languages), Mu Alpha Theta (a mathematics society), and NHS. She supplements these activities with extracurriculars like Girl Scouts and - most importantly - community service.

“My parents raised my sister and I to value community service, and our Temple has given us a chance to do such projects together.” For Sumedha and her family, those projects have included volunteering for their local library’s children’s reading program, homeless shelters in the city, and local senior centers.

“From a young age, I’ve been serving others. It’s showed me how touching it can be to really help another,” she explains. As she grew, her innate passion for service and her ability to work tirelessly combined with the school subject that drew her most: science. “I’ve always been interested in studying the human anatomy and biology, and the chemical processes in the body.” It was a surprise to no one when the result was a plan: she would continue to work hard, educate herself, and become a physician - and a scholarship would certainly help.

“I was drawn to SOI because it’s about ethics and integrity. In an increasingly immoral world, it’s important not to forget your values.” Her voice rings with steady clarity and gentle purpose. “My values are especially important to me because I’m going to be a physician. I need to have a strong sense of ethics - I’m going to be responsible for people’s lives.”

As a Student of Integrity, Sumedha can further her life’s work of helping others - a thing that we can all be grateful for. Congratulations, Sumedha!

Jackie Ketcham

Jackie Ketcham

Jackie Ketcham goes to East Central High School. “I love the teachers there. I can tell that they’re extraordinary. Mrs. Tanner, Mr. Owen, and Mrs. Anderson especially . . .” she goes on to describe all the ways in which they’ve “made her better, and taught her to open her mind and think.”

Her closeness with her family and various other clubs and activities have taken that teaching further in Jackie’s life. She mentions her school’s Choir and English Academic Teams, and Destination Imagination (DI), which she’s been a part of since the first grade. “DI is all about problem-solving,” she explains. “You’re given challenges to choose from out of categories like tech, fine arts, service, etc., and asked to solve them. Out of all the clubs I’ve been in, DI has taught me the most.”

It’s her participation in Book Club, however, that provides the clearest foreshadow. “I plan to study English when I go to college,” she says with the certainty of sincere enthusiasm. “I love to read. I’m not sure where I got that interest. There were always books in the house, growing up,” Jackie recalls. “There wasn’t a moment I fell in love with it; it’s just something that’s always been there. Something I’ve always been passionate about.”

She happily lists various colleges she’s considering, saying gratefully that wherever she goes, the SOI scholarship will be a great help. “I’m so glad I found the SOI prompt. I looked at it and immediately thought: ‘I’m made for this essay.’ I really like exploring hypothetical situations and thinking about hypothetical consequences,” she says earnestly, the air of an educated intellectual already about her. “It was perfect for me, and I loved thinking about it and bouncing ideas off my family.”

Jackie’s enthusiasm for the future is infectious, and the knowledge that her scholarship prize will be put to vigorous use a certainty. Jackie, our heartfelt congratulations to you!

Maddie Schenthal

Maddie Schenthal

Maddie Schenthal has been a student at Villa Madonna since the 4th grade. “It’s a small school - there are about 35 kids in my graduating class,” she says. “I love that. The small class sizes allow me to really connect with my teachers and fully understand what they’re teaching.”

Within this intimate institution, Maddie thrived. Soccer and track; National Honor Society (NHS) and Spanish NHS (the latter for which she is Co-President); and Student Council and VSADD, or, Villa Students Against Destructive Decisions. “It’s a great organization,” she explains energetically. “We try to spread the word about the harmfulness of behaviors like reckless drinking and distracted driving - things like that.”

Despite her obvious enthusiasm for all of her involvements - athletics, academics, and more - here is the passion that stands out above the rest: the health and welfare of others. “A lot of my family members work in the medical field, and they’ve opened my eyes to it and how it can actually change lives,” explains Maddie, recalling her experiences volunteering at Cincinnati Children’s, St. Elizabeth, and the DCCH Center for Children and Families, where she spent time with children undergoing dialysis. “I want to help people and influence those around me, and my time volunteering in hospitals affirmed that in me. Everything about it interests me.”

Maddie undertook the SOI essay contest with a focused mind, a belief that “everyone should be able to make good ethical decisions,” and hope that a scholarship would help her on the pre-med track. As a proud 2017 SOI Scholar, Maddie looks to the future with excitement and gratitude. “I’m thankful to my parents for always supporting me, and my teachers for always guiding me.” As are we all, Maddie - congratulations!