BBB Youngstown Honors Ethics and Integrity Scholarship Recipients

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Five area high school graduates received $1,000 one-year, post-secondary scholarships through the Better Business Bureau of Mahoning Valley.

BBB President and CEO Carol Potter and Jennifer Johnson, BBB chair and area manager of the Struthers division at Aqua Ohio Inc., were on hand to award the Ethics and Integrity Scholarships to this year’s recipients at a ceremony Wednesday at Sweeney Buick GMC.

The students’ families gathered as Alexa Sweeney Blackann, president of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, and David Dastoli, president of Farmers Trust Co., presented the scholarships. Sweeney and Farmers Trust are underwriters for the scholarships.

This year’s recipients and affiliated BBB accredited businesses include Joseph “Joey” DeSalvo of Howland High school/DeSalvo Construction, Kayla Jadue of Cardinal Mooney High School/O’Neill Concrete, Nathan Lanham of Niles McKinley High School/717 Credit Union, Hanna Mathews of Lakeview High School/VEC Inc. and Braden Urmson of Crestview High School/Columbiana Veterinary Associates.

“The essays were so heartfelt and right on topic, as far as what ethics and integrity mean to these outstanding seniors,” Potter said. “To applaud them is something that is just a delight every year.”

This year’s collection of essays had a theme of the difficulties coming out of 2020 after a time of pandemic, she says, and “how values like ethics and integrity have never been more important,” and that home means even more now.

“I think I see kids are staying a little bit closer to where they’re from, if not staying right here in town,” she says.

Indeed, all five graduates are bound for schools within the state. In the fall, DeSalvo and Urmson will attend Ohio State University, Jadue will go to Youngstown State University, Lanham is bound for Walsh University and Mathews will attend Kent State University.

As for whether they will return to the Mahoning Valley to work remains to be seen. DeSalvo said he’ll likely come back to the area to work during the summer, but isn’t sure where his path will take him after college. He’s currently undecided with his major, but said he’s interested in business and engineering. He is grateful for the scholarship heading into college, he said.

“It just feels good to be recognized. It’s really nice to get this from the local business,” he said.

In his essay, DeSalvo recalled someone he worked under named Charlie, who guided and mentored him.

“He really honed in on some key morals when it came to ethics and integrity,” DeSalvo said. “I think about what he taught me when I worked underneath him at a job site.”

After receiving her scholarship, Kayla Jadue celebrates with her grandparents Bob and Linda O’Neill, and her mother and step-father Kelly and Michael Notar.

Work ethic was a key takeaway from Jadue’s essay, which is something that was instilled in her by her grandfather, Bob O’Neill, who has been with the BBB for more than 40 years with his company O’Neill Concrete Inc.

“I think that in all reality, she has that instilled in her now and she actually projects that,” O’Neill said of his granddaughter’s work ethic.

Jadue said she intends to major in exercise science and aspires to be a physician’s assistant. “I want to work with kids for the rest of my life, so I’m really excited for that,” she said.

Urmson will be a third-generation student at Ohio State – his father and grandfather both graduated as Buckeyes – and he plans to study zoology. He hopes to intern at the Columbus Zoo and eventually work there, he said.

The scholarship will be put to good use, he added. “Everything helps out when you’re going to college,” he said.

Scholarships are awarded based on demonstration of leadership skills, community service, academic achievement, and a written essay on what ethics and integrity mean to the candidate. The goal of the BBB’s scholarship program is to provide information and develop resources that promote and build awareness of ethical business practices and marketplace trust, according to the release.

To be eligible, students must be graduating high school seniors who are employed by or are the children or grandchildren of owners or employees of BBB Accredited Businesses. They must also:

  • Be a high school senior, with a primary residence in Columbiana, Mahoning, or Trumbull County.
  • Have plans to attend a college, university, community college, or trade school in the year immediately following high school graduation.
  • Have a high school GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Have one recommendation from the student’s school, community representative or employer providing examples of leadership and community service work and their recommendation for the student to receive the scholarship.

The scholarships represent the mission of the BBB, Aqua’s Johnson said, and serve to instill the traits of ethics and integrity in the next generation of professionals as they begin their path to college.

“It’s really remarkable to hear about the things that these kids do,” Johnson says. “The service work, the values and the ethics that they have now at such a young age, it gives you a lot of hope for our future generations.”

Pictured at top: On hand for the ceremony were BBB of Mahoning Valley Chairwoman Jennifer Johnson, Alexa Sweeney Blackann, president of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, recipients Nathan Lanham, Kayla Jadue, Hanna Mathews, Joseph DeSalvo and Braden Urmson, BBB of Mahoning Valley President and CEO Carol Potter, and David Dastoli, president of Farmers Trust Co.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.