The decades-old Teen of the Week event this year was sponsored by Columbus State Community College and The Delaware Gazette. More than 100 teens, parents and community members attended this year’s reception that acknowledged the 30 teens featured weekly as the Teen of the Week over the past school year. The event also heralded the announcement for Teen of the Year. This year the honor went to Hayes High School senior Graham Bowling, who is also the recipient of a $2,500 scholarship.
CSCC Delaware campus dean Angelo Frole said of the area seniors attending the event, “If this is where the future of our country is, I don’t think any of us have to worry about what’s in the future.”
Gazette publisher Gary Merrell said that each of the four years he has been at the event year he is impressed by the quality of leaders in Delaware County.
Selected on the basis of academics, leadership and volunteer activities, Graham said he was excited at the honor.
“Everyone was so qualified,” he said. “The whole group is so amazing it could have been anyone.”
Graham said he is very grateful for the scholarship. He will be attending Miami University where he plans to major in history with a minor in Spanish before heading off to law school down the road.
With his high school career wrapping up the end of this week, Graham will be attending going with the sixth grade students to camp next week for his senior project with plans for a mission trip in Chicago this summer. He will also be busy caddying and working in his lawn business with, hopefully, some time for relaxing as well.
“I wish everyone good luck in the future,” he said, adding that the honor of Teen of the Year is “a nice end to a good high school career.”
The son of Gregory and Rebecca Bowling of Delaware, Graham has been an active community volunteer working with everything from Big Brothers Big Sisters to the Sarah Moore Home. He is also the president for Habitat for Humanity Youth Unity which has a goal of raising $100,000 for a new home that will be totally funded by area youth.
Among Graham’s many interests in high school was history, “my passion,” and politics. His mother calls him an “old soul” and said she hopes he is enjoying his senior year. He assures her he is.
Graham has presented to the district school board as a member of the STAND UP Leadership team, which partners with the Delaware County General Health District, for a tobacco free district. He has presented before the Ohio Department of Education superintendent and board to advocate for a state-wide policy.
Graham is also active at school, involved with Spanish Club, National Honor Society, student council and senior class president. He is an Eagle Scout, volunteers with his church youth group (which includes local projects helping within the community as well as mission trips to Philadelphia and Costa Rica) among other endeavors, such as attending a national youth leadership forum in Washington, D.C.
An entrepreneur, he began a lawn care business when he was 12 which he still operates and caddies on weekends.
Other Teens of the Week honored during the reception for their achievements include: from Big Walnut High School, Jacob Collard, Haley Cowans, Katherine Yates, Melanie Lowers, Don Hutchinson and Elena Watson; from Buckeye Valley High School, Ellen McDevitt-Stredney, Ian Robert McCue, Brandon Stewart, Neil Dawson, Alicia Wilson and Eric Pettit; from the Delaware Area Career Center, Holly Butts, Mackenzie Yoke and Meaghan McCall; from Delaware Christian School, Ashleigh Monnette Hovda, Heidi Evans and Brandon Carroll; from Delaware Hayes High School, Libby Gardner, Carly Mungovan, Kathleen Jackson, Elyssa Hurley and Abigail Kremer; and from Olentangy high schools, Kelsey Wroble, Morgan Stewart, Julie Morycz, Zack Molle, Trevor Kyle Askins and Kelly Zabonik.