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Student’s travels to India result in national service award



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Students at a school for the blind in India use a peg board to learn various math skills, such as addition, subtraction and multiplication. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

A Bellefontaine High School student was honored during Monday evening’s Bellefontaine Board of Education meeting for his receipt of the President’s Volunteer Service Award following his international travels to complete a service-learning project.

Rohan Prasad recently received the award presented by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards on behalf of President Barack Obama. This honor is sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

More than 345,000 young people across the country have been considered for these awards since the program began in 1995.

Nominees’ volunteer activities were judged on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.

“The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” John R. Strangfeld, Prudential Financial chairman and CEO, said in a release.

Rohan reported that he completed his project during the summer of 2011 in India, where he worked with students at an academy for the blind.

Even prior to embarking on his trip, he said much planning went into the project.

“I looked into traveling to various continents and countries, but decided on India because it is politically stable.”

At the blind academy, he conducted various leadership activities with the students.

“It was really neat to see even some of the more quiet students really open up when given the opportunity,” the BHS senior said.

His travels followed his longtime participation in Ohio Model United Nations, where pupils select countries to study and to learn about the country’s culture.

“It was a great opportunity for me to implement what we talked about in OMUN,” he said of his trip to India.

“He has really developed a lot of leadership qualities through OMUN,” said Cathy Wiley, coordinator of gifted services.

Read Rohan's blog here.

Also, during the 2011 OMUN conference in Columbus, Rohan was elected by his peers to serve in one of the three highest offices, secretary general, for the 2012 conference.

Other student recognition during the meeting included honoring students of the month Emma Earick and Evan Snapp.

During the committee of the whole report, High School Principal Christine Galvin presented updates about the district’s Teacher Incentive Fund grant.

She reported that the Bellefontaine City Schools is in its third year of the five-year grant, and a detailed application has been prepared for teachers to apply for financial incentives for reaching various goals.

Some of the application requirements are that the staff member receive a proficient rating on their teacher evaluation and that they are in good standing with the district.

The application looks at a number of different areas for potential financial rewards, including fostering leadership, increasing instructional capacity through professional development, along with student achievement and growth.

Ms. Galvin also briefed members on a new college and career readiness committee that has been created at the high school to look at academic preparedness, accessibility and aspiration for students in planning for their futures.

As part of the initiative, she said a survey will be distributed to member businesses in the Logan County Area Chamber of Commerce to determine the various sets of job skills needed for high school graduates.

Administrators reported that at the district’s recent public auction for Northeastern Elementary School, no bids were received for the school building.

With the opening of the new school buildings next year, Northeastern Elementary along with Western Intermediate and Southeastern Elementary buildings no longer will be used by the district. The sale of Western Intermediate to the Madison-Champaign County Educational Service Center previously was approved by the board at a recent meeting.

The next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22.

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