Youth leadership recognized

Gessner accepted to NYLF conference

By Amy Barger -


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, students are able to experience different career choices at a younger age. Drew Gessner, Covington Elementary third grader, was chosen to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM in Washington, D.C. where he learned about the possibilities in various careers.

The event took place from July 20-24, with students from across the nation that were selected to learn about careers in engineering, medicine, and criminal investigation. Students engaged in different workshops related to these careers and applied essential STEM skills in the process.

The forum is part of the Envision family of programs that allow students of all ages to investigate their interests and experience learning outside of the classroom. Serving more than 500,000 students in more than 145 countries since 1985, Envision programs are designed to help students develop their skills in leadership, scholarship, and career, skills that are needed today.

Gessner, 9, of Piqua, was nominated by his homeroom teacher Angie Knick to participate in the program. Knick explained why she nominated Gessner.

“He just shows great leadership and high academics,” she said. “He’s a good role model; he’s just an all around great kid.”

In class, Knick said Gessner always wanted to strive to be the best. He asked questions, and had a strong drive to learn. Gessner worked well in small groups with students who were struggling and would try to help them out.

In Knick’s teaching career of 10 years at Covington Elementary, Gessner is the first student Knick has nominated that was chosen to attend the forum.

“The conference itself is great for a young child to experience other areas in careers,” Knick said. “I love the idea that kids can be exposed to this at an early age to help drive them later in their life, I think that’s great.”

Gessner’s mother, Kelly Gessner, who teaches first grade social studies at Covington Elementary, gave her perspective on her son, stating that he is “sweet, caring, intelligent, fun, and athletic.” She shared what Drew took away from the conference.

“He still has loved talking about (forum),” she said. “He was very excited to go and was nervous the first day. It wore him out every day – he did so much.”

The family will watch a medical show and Drew, for example, would talk about how to test someone’s blood based off of what he learned from the forum.

“Everything that he sees that relates back to what he learned, he will talk about it,” Kelly said. “It was a good trip, it was very educational and meaningful.”

“I was so excited,” Drew said, when he learned he got accepted to attend the forum. He was most interested in learning about the different kinds of doctors and medicines. Drew dissected a cow’s heart and said “that was cool.” He is considering going into the medical field after the experience.

Gessner accepted to NYLF conference

By Amy Barger

Reach Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340.

Reach Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340.