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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland will award seven local students the Girl Scout Gold Award — the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The award represents outstanding accomplishments in leadership development and advocating for others.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts create a lasting impact on issues that are important to them,” said Tammy Wharton, President and Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. “These girls exemplify what it means to be a Girl Scout. Not only do Gold Award projects help communities, they also give girls important leadership skills, teaching them to support issues that they care about and seek out solutions. I applaud all our 2022 Gold Award Girl Scouts for being innovators, big thinkers and role models.”

Girls dedicate a minimum of 80 hours to complete the steps to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. This year’s 2022 Gold Award Girl Scouts from across the council include:

Veronica Bumgardner, Groveport
Groveport Sustainability

Veronica Bumgardner was inspired by a tour of a local landfill her junior year, where she learned about the number of recyclables thrown in the trash each day. For her Gold Award project, Veronica talked to people who were already open to the idea of recycling and taught them how to recycle in Central Ohio. She then collected plastic lids to create a bench and used this project to introduce a more in-depth version of recycling. Throughout the project, she stayed available for questions from those participating to ensure they were recycling correctly, opening many people’s eyes in her community. Veronica was a 2021 graduate of Metro Early College High School. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years.

Alexandra Miller, Westerville
Project Initiative

As a high school driver, Alexandra Miller recognized that traffic was heavy, and signage was inadequate on her route. She decided to base her Gold Award project on finding a solution to make the area safer. Throughout her project, she reached out to the city of Westerville and her school administrators and operations specialist to discuss options to make the area between Walnut Street and Illinois Avenue safer for pedestrians and car traffic. She assembled a team to help her and conducted multiple traffic studies to present to the city. In the end, she educated her community on pedestrian safety and the proper use of pedestrian crossings. Alexandra is a 2022 graduate of Westerville South High School. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.

Callie Lewis, Reynoldsburg
Growing the Next Generation

Callie Lewis noticed that malnutrition was a prevalent problem and wanted to address it through her Gold Award project. Throughout her project, younger students learned how they could grow their vegetables and have a garden. A garden was implemented at her high school, and the food produced was given to the cafeteria. An aquaponics garden, where fish are used to provide nutrients to the plants, was also set up at the high school. Different types of gardening also were explored. Additionally, she made lesson plans for preschoolers and first graders that can be used in the future. Callie was a 2020 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.

Andrea Nadolny, Worthington
You Are Not Alone: Suicide Prevention and Awareness Project

Andrea Nadolny promoted Suicide Education and Prevention by distributing a series of infographics covering essential issues such as symptoms of suicidal thinking, how to talk about suicide, and good mental health. Her infographics are now used by eleven partner organizations across the state of Ohio and in Alabama and Florida. In addition, to promote suicide awareness locally, she designed and installed two murals. The first mural was installed at the Worthington Community Center in March 2021. More than 300 community members participated in the second interactive mural installed at the Old Worthington Library in August 2021. Andrea is a 2022 graduate of Thomas Worthington High School. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years.

Alexandra Shroads, Westerville
Pass on Plastic

Through “Pass on Plastic,” Alexandra Shroads educated children, adults and Girl Scouts about the dangers of single-use plastic on our environment. By reimagining the 3 R’s as “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse,” she helped others see plastic differently. She led trash cleanups in her community, spoke at public farmers’ markets, published a website, taught online classes, and ran virtual Girl Scout programs for all ages in more than 30 states. Her goal is for others to think twice before reaching for a disposable water bottle or cutlery. She wants people to know that by making smart choices, we can control the impact we have. Alexandra is a 2022 graduate of Westerville Central High School and Delaware Area Career Center. She has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.

Eleanor (Ellie) Warren, Hilliard
Analysis of Acoustic Attenuation Induced by Face Masks Used During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Ellie Warren recognized that many deaf and hard of hearing individuals (including herself) have difficulty understanding others’ speech due to face masks. In her study, several types of face masks were compared in an audio booth at The Ohio State University Eye and Ear Institute. Through the project, they were able to differentiate the audio qualities of these masks analytically. 

Ellie wants people in the Deaf community to feel more in control and informed when making decisions about which masks best fit their communication needs. In addition, she hopes her research will help clinical providers choose the face covering that best serves their patients’ needs. Ellie was a 2021 graduate of Hilliard Davidson High School. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.

Kennedy Watkins, Blacklick
Let’s Code Together

Kennedy Watkins was inspired on a service trip to Barbados her sophomore year. She and her classmates taught elementary students how to code using lesson plans they created before traveling. She decided to use this inspiration for her Gold Award project, Let’s Code Together. Kennedy made her lesson plans for her project and taught elementary students through Zoom classes. She led the students using a scratch block program that allowed them to develop games and small videos using block code. Throughout the courses, she went through coding vocabulary and introduced students to careers in the STEM field. Kennedy is now a student at Ohio Wesleyan University. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.

The recipients will receive their awards during the Highest Awards Ceremony on June 5 at the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades nine through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

The Gold Award is a national award, with national standards, representing a Girl Scout’s time, leadership, creativity and effort dedicated to improving her community. In 2021, 13 girls in the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland 30-county region earned the Gold Award. The Gold Award is awarded to fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts annually, and each Gold Award Girl Scout spends one to two years on her project. Approximately one million Girl Scouts have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent since 1916. 

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