The Ohio State University at Mansfield

LeaderRichland brings students and community leaders to the Mansfield Campus

Colin Sikon of Ohio Laborers Training Center talks to students about the importance of education in the construction business.
Colin Sikon of Ohio Laborers Training Center talks to students about the importance of education in the construction business.

Mansfield, OH -- It was another successful year for LeaderRichland, as the Mansfield campus welcomed more than a thousand 7th- and 8th-grade students from Richland and Crawford County schools. LeaderRichland encourages students to pursue career and educational goals available in Richland County across many sectors.

The students had an opportunity to meet Richland County business and community leaders during the three-day event. Approximately 50 different community presenters spoke about their careers in skilled trades, finance, services, healthcare, education, non-profits, and manufacturing.

This year, participants came from Lexington, Clear Fork, Galion, Mansfield City, Foundations Academy, Crestline, Plymouth-Shiloh, Madison, Lucas, and St. Peter’s School.

Students prepare for the day by participating in a group “O-H-I-O”

Each day, students met with area professionals of distinction. The connection provides students with strong role models, encourages accomplishment in academic and personal lives of students and demonstrates the possibilities that exist in the professional world right here in Richland County.

Colin Sikon, an instructor at the Ohio Laborers Training Center, was one of the speakers at the event. He specializes in construction. Sikon spoke to the students about the significance of learning any skills that can be used in the job market. He explained, “The sooner you can figure out what you like and get a skill, that’s the first step to a solid future in a career.”

Sikon also expressed the importance of education within the construction business. Workers in this area use math and technology on a frequent basis. He said, “You may not have realized this, but a lot of science goes into construction. We also use math every day, especially trigonometry.”

Mansfield Campus Board Members from left to right: R. David Daniels,
Pamela Siegenthaler, Teresa Purtiman, Colonel Michael Howard

The Ohio State University at Mansfield Board also participated in LeaderRichland. The Board is made up of local lawyers, doctors and upper-level managers. They encouraged the students to get involved in their community through volunteering.

Students wrote notes to community members at the 179th Airlift Wing, as well as two local nursing homes, and taped them on a four-foot painted Buckeye tree.

Colonel Michael Howard, retired Vice Commander, 179th Airlift Wing, says “One thing about being a leader is also volunteering, doing those things that you don’t get paid for but that add value to whatever that community is you are supporting.” He spoke to the students along with board members Teresa Purtiman, R.David Daniels and Pamela Siegenthaler. Daniels reiterated the power of giving back: “Volunteering is the lifeblood of a community.”

LeadersRichland background:

The LeaderRichland program was developed and designed in partnership between local academic administrators and community professionals. By soliciting input from multiple partners, LeaderRichland ensures that the specific requirements of the local school systems are met while fostering engagement from community leaders.

The goals of LeaderRichland are:

  • Strengthen school district’s standing among community and private sector,
  • Encourage students to think about personal goals and aspirations,
  • Provide a roadmap to achieving success,
  • Connect a network of role models and professionals to area students.