Murray Elliana McGovern of Martinsville is a senior at Martinsville High School. She is a member of the Beta Club, Key Club, SCA (class president sophomore year), travel and varsity soccer teams (captain, 2017), school marching band, and her church youth group. Ellie has volunteered at a local nursing home, the YMCA, Black Box Theater, Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association, and as a PYSL Volunteer Coach.
“As teenagers we wait. …However, now is the time to stop waiting to truly make a difference in our community. Now is the time to take on an opportunity that can impact Martinsville/Henry County in an important and positive way. As a member of the Harvest Youth Board, I would have a voice and be able to hear others as well. I would join a group of my peers that have the same goal in mind, to make Martinsville/Henry County a better place and help those who live here…”
Jarrett Pearson of Martinsville is a junior at Magna Vista High School. He is involved in the Beta Club, Spanish Club, Boy Scouts of America Troop 326, Boy Scout Order of the Arrow and Leadership Council, SCA, and his church youth group.
“The main reasons I want to join the youth board are so I can serve the community and be more involved in it. …Everyone is always complaining about how bad Martinsville and Henry County is but I rarely ever see anyone out there trying to help. …I will have my own voice that I can use to make our community a better place.”
Zariah D. Scales of Spencer is a junior at Magna Vista High School. She has been involved in the Beta Club, Spanish Club, Henry County Schools Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board, Summer Governor’s School, Upward Bound Math & Science, a member of the softball and volleyball teams, and also attends Warrior Tech Academy. Zariah has volunteered at the First United Methodist Church Food Bank, SPCA, served community meals, and various other events in the area.
“There are so many reasons I would like to have the honor of being a member of the Harvest Foundation Youth Board, but the main reason is to help fulfill the potential that Martinsville and Henry County has, and to make it a place that people are proud to call their home.”
Adrian T. Hylton of Martinsville is a junior at Magna Vista High School. He is a member of the Beta Club, National Society of Black Engineers, and CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives). He also participates in football, indoor and outdoor track, and is an active member in his church. Adrian received the Lancer Award, was named Henry County Robotics Champion, and has several academic awards.
“When I heard about the Harvest Foundation Youth Board, and what it was doing in the community, I immediately became interested. It is the perfect opportunity for teens to make a difference and have a voice in the community. It provides an opportunity to have a say in what goes on in our area. I believe that it is very important to have input from the youth.”
Sophia Esdaile is a senior in the Warrior Tech Academy at Magna Vista High School. She's on the A/B Honor Roll and she's received two Anchor papers. She's also volunteered for the Magna Vista Boosters Club, participated in the Sandy Level Stop the Violence Walk, was a member of Girl Scout Troop No. 943, and volunteered for a Martinsville Christmas Charity Event.
"MHC faces many challenges today, and youth development is high on the list. My concerns for MHC have led me to volunteer for several organizations; namely Girl Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Club, and Magna Vista Boosters, among others. My feeling is that you have to participate in order to make things better."
Sean Arroyo is a senior at Carlisle School. He is involved in CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives) and is a volunteer for the SPCA.
"I desire to join the Harvest Youth Board, not because it looks good on a college resume, but because I feel as though education and health is taken for granted. In the U.S., education isn't valued nearly as much as it should be. ...I believe that this foundation will bring a much needed focus to the poor education system ... and will bring better health conditions for those who are afflicted with illnesses."
Taylor L. Manns of Bassett is a senior at Bassett High School. She is a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society. Taylor enjoys volunteering her time to participate in service opportunities with her church and school. Her activities include community cleanups, serving community meals, and many other community fellowship events.
“My community service and church activities have prepared me to be a member of the Harvest Youth Board. I feel I can jump right in and help out with the youth board’s community activities, and the youth board will help me grow in areas such as budgeting, public speaking, and social interactions. I look forward serving the youth board and the citizens of Martinsville and Henry County.”
Jacob Tisdale of Martinsville is a junior at Carlisle School. He is a member of Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy, SCA (president, freshman year), junior varsity soccer, varsity baseball, participated in multiple Carlisle entertainment productions, and is a school mentor. He also plays the violin and guitar.
“It would be an honor to serve on the Harvest Youth Board because I want to use the position as a way to create positive change in the community, and to help the board use its influence in a way that will make the area the best possible version of itself. …I love Martinsville/Henry County, and I believe that being a part of something that has the ability to do so much is an opportunity I cannot pass up.”
Jeremiah W. Witt of Collinsville is a junior at Bassett High School. He participates in the Beta Club, Math SCALE team, and CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives); he also volunteers at the YMCA, Virginia Museum of Natural History, and several other events hosted by area schools.
“I have enjoyed making a difference by giving back to the community by volunteering my time and working through BETA and CHILL. I want to take on a larger role in helping by serving on the Harvest Youth Board. …We can build on the work already started. I want to find ways to keep current initiatives going so our community continues to move ahead and residents want to remain here.”
Andrew Chitwood, of Collinsville, is a junior at Carlisle School. He has been a member of CHILL and took part in the Paint the Town 5K, volunteered at the Collinsville YMCA summer camp and works with sound control at Hill Memorial Baptist Church.
“It’s a great opportunity for learning so much about the positives and negatives in our community and then being able to work on the fixing the negatives,” Chitwood wrote of the Youth Board. “It’s also a chance for exposure to different new fields of leadership and economics that could help me gain new interests for a career choice later in life. It’s a place where I can learn more about becoming an effective leader of the community.”
William Gardner, of Martinsville, is a sophomore at Magna Vista High School. He has been a member of Christ Episcopal Church Youth Group, Boy Scout Troop 326, Future Business Leaders of America and Future Farmers of America, and volunteered with the Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival. He is founder and captain of the Magna Vista Debate Team, an alumni ambassador of the Broadreach Program that advocates earth-friendly methods in people’s daily lives and was a working student at the Sandy River Equestrian Center.
“It’s time to focus on moving forward,” Gardner said. “My initial goal in this world is to make positive change, and I believe that serving on the Harvest Youth Board is my first step in getting there.”
Taylor Jo Gary, of Martinsville, is a sophomore at Bassett High School. At Bassett she is active with cheer, swim, Beta Club, French Club and FOCAS. She also is involved with First Baptist Church of Collinsville Children’s Ministry, Wednesday night meals, Youth Group and Special Needs Class and Public Relations Committee. She's also worked with Upward Basketball at Fort Trial, Mt. Calvary and Horsepasture Christian churches for three years, and with the Henry County Schools she worked with Book a Treat, Book a Hunt, Family Reading Nights, Movie Nights, Valentine’s Dance, STEM and Science Night.
“Because of my travel with competitive dance I have seen firsthand how events can help the economy of a community. Community service should start at a young age, Gary said, and Youth Board members become role models for other young people. “I would like for the board to research a program for our younger students to learn the value of giving back and value of volunteerism. In doing this we may spark more interest in leadership in our community and leadership,” she said.
Finley Underwood, of Martinsville, is a sophomore at Magna Vista High School. He has been a BETA Club member at MVHS and a 4-H public speaking champion. His activities include being a Life Scout; concert band; junior varsity soccer team and serving as its captain; varsity swim team; Piedmont Youth Soccer League (PYSL) Hurricanes U16 travel soccer team; Future Business Leaders of America; Youth Group of First United Methodist Church; and co-owner/co-founder of “collectionsmva,” which resells new and used clothing and shoes. He has volunteered with Richard’s Dinner, a community meal at Christmas, for three years; the Youth Board’s Thanksgiving dinner; the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet at First United Methodist Church; Grace Network Christmas food boxing; and the Smith River Cleanup. He also has been an acolyte at First United Methodist Church.
“I feel that my current standing as a student in Magna Vista High School’s Warrior Tech Program offers me valuable insight into many of the challenges faced in our area,” he said, adding that he is familiar with the area’s history. “I want to do all that I can to help restore vitality to the area and make it a place where everyone wants to work, play and live.”