Thursday, October 2, 2003
Character sign: helping a friend
By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ST. BERNARD - Two years ago, Chad Withers began helping a disabled classmate to and from classes at Roger Bacon High School. What started as a volunteer job has evolved into a friendship that continues long after the last bell rings.
Chad Withers, 16, has taken on the responsibility of wheeling classmate Adam Hortemiller, 16, from classroom to classroom.|
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
Now, it's second nature for the 16-year-old junior to help his friend, Adam Hortemiller, who uses a wheelchair.
"It's just how I am," the St. Bernard teen said, shrugging with modesty. "If people need help, I help them."
Chad is one of 41 teenagers who will receive the 2003 YMCA Character Awards today. The seventh annual awards banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington. The teens will be honored for demonstrating the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
Without Chad - and occasionally other students - Adam wouldn't have been able to attend Roger Bacon, said Barbara Kindel, a school guidance counselor who nominated him.
Adam, a 16-year-old junior from Springfield Township, cannot walk and has problems with his sight, writing and speaking. His disabilities stem from a brain tumor diagnosed when he was 10.
2003 AWARD WINNERS
Brandon Adair, 14, Milford
Michael Bennett, 17, Moeller
Jason Bittner, 17, Cincinnati Hills Christian
Eric Blackmon, 17, Harmony Community
Sarah Broome, 17, Ursuline
Jane Dankenbring, 15, Ursuline
Joshua Dennis, 13, St. Frances De Sales
Elyse Dull, 16, Mason
Rachel Ferguson, 13, Norwood
Brittany Gagel, 17, Ursuline
Thanika Gordon, 17, Aiken
Barry Hampton, 17, Shroder Paideia
LaTonya Hill, 13, St. Catharine
Tyra Hills, 12, Rothenberg
Erin Jackson, 14, Walnut Hills
Leah Jones, 18, Winton Woods
Kelly Kampschmidt, 17, McAuley
Brenton Kenkel, 16, St. Xavier
Melvin Lewis Jr., 16, Withrow
Puanani Makia, 16, McAuley
Erin Marksberry, 14, Mount Notre Dame
Amy Michels, 17, McAuley
Melanie Murphy, 16, St. Ursula
Emily Mustard, 17, Ursuline
John F. Nester Jr., 17, LaSalle
Cortnie Owens, 15, Bethel-Tate
Meera Ramamoorthy, 17, Ursuline
Jordan Rankins, 15, Holmes
Jarrod Richardson, 14, Cincinnati Hills Christian
Satin Sanders, 17. Shroder Paideia
Allison Schottenstein, 17, Cincinnati Hills Christian
Jenny Seitz, 17, Lawrenceburg
Steven Selm, 17, LaSalle
Darryl Sloan, 16, Purcell Marian
Meaghan Stakelin, 17,. Ursuline
Sarah Theobald, 13, Wyoming
Brittani Trammer, 15. Holy Cross
Jose' Vinegar, 16, Walnut Hills
Chad Withers, 16, Roger Bacon
Marques Worrell, 16, Norwood
Clare Zlatic, 17, Roger Bacon
Chad befriended Adam when the two were freshmen. Guidance counselors asked Chad if he'd volunteer to help Adam, and he agreed.
Until an elevator was installed during their freshman year, Chad helped carry Adam up and down stairs. He carts his textbooks. He helps him take notes and study.
"He's a good guy - a little crazy," Adam said with a smile.
Kindel, one of two Roger Bacon employees who nominated Chad, wrote: "Chad has helped this young man from the start of freshman year and has continued to help every day and for every change of class throughout the day - seven periods."
"Chad has left class many times with Adam and given up part of his lunch to get help on anything he missed or didn't understand," wrote Barbara Brodbeck, his algebra teacher, who also nominated him.
Their friendship extends beyond the school grounds. The two often hang out after school and weekends at Adam's house or the mall.
Chad's presence is reassuring when it comes time for Adam to maneuver through hallways and classes in the school of 776 students.
"Sometimes, his vision changes, and sometimes, he's not feeling as well," said Adam's mother, Lynn Hortemiller. "He knows Chad is always going to be there to make sure he gets where he needs to go and help him with things."
Chad is one of two Roger Bacon students being honored tonight. The other is Clare Zlatic, a 17-year-old senior who participated in the Urban Plunge campaign last year, spending weekends cleaning up Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods.
The YMCA is also honoring five adults: Eileen Cooper Reed, director of the Children's Defense Fund-Ohio; Michael Flannery, WCPO's 9 On Your Kid's Side reporter; Mike Martin, football coach at Taft Information Technology High School and a former Bengal; Louise Dieterle Nippert, arts and environmental advocate, and Joe Calloway, executive director of the West End YMCA.
Abuse suit now a class action
Zimpher gets busy on Day 1
Student sampling on new boss sketchy
Crime on rise in suburbs
Young voters missing at polls
IN THE TRISTATE
Character sign: helping a friend
Project to cut off businesses
19 from Greater Cincinnati are Achievement semifinalists
Cancer team seeks funding
Reeve tells of hope for cures
Cranley seeks I-71 exit near hospitals
Monitor says police reform is slow
MSD to pay to fix sewer backups
Pulfer: A new history of women begins on the west side
Howard: Good Things Happening
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Jury decides on death penalty for man who killed his wife
Hamilton readies for assault of this winter
Deters advises Butler Co.
Miami U. to keep all benefits for striking workers
Visit Scotland with a trip to Middletown
Mason's pancake day will be Nov. 8
Condos argued in Price Hill
Student killed; school shocked
Stanley Kreimer active in politics
Henry Stark, 104, was in union for 87 years
Irate farmer wants crop circle culprits to pay
Two firefighters killed in New Knoxville
No charges to be filed in landlord voyeurism case
Lawmaker proposes overhaul of state retirement fund boards
There's plenty of Ohio in D.C.
Universities, public schools start mutual campaign for money
Ky. state senator says: 'I'm gay'
Poll finds majority would allow smoking in bars
Survey: Gamblers ramble in region
Talks to regulate tobacco industry break down along partisan lines
Holmes teacher's death serves as warning for all
Museum Center shows Lewis and Clark letters
West Nile death confirmed
Truck driver dies after going off I-71