The YWCA of Youngstown will honor 27 area high school seniors on Saturday, March 9 at its 19th annual Young Women with Bright Futures Awards ceremony at the Holiday Inn, Boardman. Among them are two Boardman seniors, one from Boardman High and one from Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.
Each year, the YWCA recognizes young women who have demonstrated a commitment to serving their schools, communities, and families. Senior high school women are selected by their school teachers or administrators for their leadership qualities, academic excellence, creativity and volunteerism.
Boardman High School senior Nicole Pavlansky was nominated by BHS guidance counselor Rick Smrek.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Senior Nicole Pavlansky poses with Boardman High School guidance counselor Rick Smrek, who nominated her for the YWCA Young Women with Bright Futures award. She will be attending a banquet this weekend where she and 26 other Valley high school seniors will be recognized.
"They (the YWCA) look for women with bright futures for this award," Smrek said. "Nicole is so strong in many areas. She is at the top academically and puts in quality volunteer hours. She is someone who has a very promising future."
Pavlansky does stay on top of her classroom studies, but also finds the time to be involved in a lot of activities. She serves as president of Interact at BHS, and is a member of the National Honor Society, the math club, the Spanish Honors Society and the science club, as well as playing on the BHS tennis team.
Among her accomplishments involved with those clubs was the cleanup of the trails and landscaping at Boardman Park, volunteering at nursing homes to work with residents, making shakes at Octoberfest, helping out with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast, and volunteering to serve dinner at the Rescue Mission.
Besides all of her after-school functions, she is also involved at church. She is a member of the St. Charles Celebrate Team for seniors. This year, it was her task to help plan a retreat weekend for juniors.
"It is a chance to get away from it all and reflect on life's experiences," she said.
When asked why she is involved in so much, Pavlansky replied, "I enjoy it a lot. It makes me feel good to be able to give back to others."
For the future, Pavlansky is looking at either John Carroll University or Youngstown State University. She wants to major in math education. Whatever path she chooses, Smrek said she will succeed.
"She comes to school and gives it her all," he said. "She has a warm personality and is a real people person. I see all the things in her that shows a promising future."
Joining Pavlansky and the other 25 girls will be MCCTC's Savannah Heeter from Boardman. Like Pavlansky, Heeter is heavily involved in school and in the community.
Heeter is a member of Key Club and keeps active by taking part in activities like helping in the soup kitchen at the Rescue Mission and helping set up and distribute toys at Christmas for needy children.
She also serves as president of the Skills America Club at MCCTC. The club is a student career technology organization that competes with other schools. Heeter entered her photography in the regional competition in February and took second place. She will be competing in that category in April during the state competition.
Heeter is looking to continue her love of the arts at Ohio University this fall. She said she wants to combine her passion for art with her love of helping children in need.
"I am looking at getting into art therapy for children," she said. "It's a way to use art as therapy for children who come from an abusive childhood."
MCCTC career development specialist Jackie Kuffle said, "Savanah is very energetic and is a very talented young woman. She has the potential to do great things."
Heeter was notified of her nomination from guidance counselor Deb Towns. She said she wasn't expecting it.
"I honestly started crying," she said. "It meant a lot to me that people had faith in me. It means a lot."
Both Heeter and Pavlansky will be in attendance Saturday for the awards. Saturday's event will be chaired by Cryshanna A. Jackson. Meghan Louttit, multimedia producer of the New York Times and former 2004 Bright Futures honoree, will be the keynote speaker for the event.