The required 32 hours of community service Wellington High School graduates must accrue just wasn’t enough for one member of the Class of 2017.
Bailey Wise didn’t merely rise above that goal. She broke through it with a sledgehammer 10 times over.
Logging 366 hours over her four years at WHS, Wise was honored by the Wellington board of education July 18 with a commemorative plaque.
Wise said a large chunk of her hours came through work as president of Wellington’s FFA chapter, setting up petting zoos at the Duke Pride Carnival, Westwood Elementary, and Lorain County Fairgrounds.
“It’s very important to me to educate people about where their food comes from,” she said. “The county petting zoo at the fairgrounds is a partnership between (the Lorain County JVS) and Firelands. When you walk into the front gate to the fair and you see all those barns on the right-hand side, those are all run by 15- to 18-year-olds. That’s what I do.”
She plans to study agriculture science education at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster the next two years before transferring to the main campus in Columbus.
When asked where her generous attitude came from, Wise said her mother played a large role.
“I hated agriculture when I was a freshman and wanted nothing to do with it,” she said. “My mom kind of kicked my butt into gear and told me I was doing it. When I got to high school, I wanted to be a crime scene investigator. Then I finally thought, ‘If we didn’t have agriculture, we wouldn’t survive.’ No farms, no food. It feels great to be involved with something that important.”
The school board and those in attendance gave Wise a standing ovation.
Board member Ayers Ratliff said the number of hours logged by Wise was at first difficult to believe.
“As a community member, you’re an example for all of us to look up to,” he said. “This is something to be proud of. When I heard at graduation that you did that many hours, I couldn’t believe it. This work is truly wonderful and I know you’ll be a very successful young lady. I’m proud of you.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.