Saturday, April 27, 2002

Two students win Lazarus awards

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        Twice a week, 17-year-old Lizzy Zultoski tutors elementary school students at Mercy Connections through a program she developed last fall after funding for an after-school program was discontinued.

    Megan James, Diamond Oaks Vocational School
    Paola Miller, Stephen T. Badin High School
    Maria Perez, Summit Country Day
    Allison Wendel, Ursuline Academy
    Clair Boyle, Mother of Mercy
    Tiffany Donnelly, Holmes High School
    Priscilla Laughner, McAuley High School
    Caroline Wells, Summit Country Day
        The Walnut Hills High School junior also teaches Sunday school at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, is an assistant at the Girl Scouts' Camp Sunnybrook, is involved in several activities at school and works part time.

        Miss Zultoski of Mount Lookout was one of two high school students selected to receive the Simon Lazarus Jr. Human Relations Award from the Cincinnati chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

        Ali Blandford, 18, a senior at Anderson High School, also received the award for her community service, which includes heading her school's United Cultures Club and her involvement in projects sponsored by her church, The New Thought Unity Center, where she is a regional representative for the youth group.

        Each year the organization honors a junior and senior for their community service and volunteer efforts. This year the committee received 65 nominations, representing 43 high schools in Greater Cincinnati. The two winners received certificates, a book and a savings bond.

        Ms. Zultoski established a core group of 10 students who work with about a dozen volunteers, providing one-on-one tutoring for underprivileged elementary school students.

        “Of all the service activities I do, I think the most important of all is the tutoring,” Miss Zultoski said.

        Like Miss Zultoski, Miss Blandford is active in her church, where this year she plans regional rallies and conferences attended by more than 300 teens from several churches.

        With the youth group, Miss Blandford spends many weekends bagging food, visiting nursing homes or working at inner-city social and service agencies.

        This year, Miss Blandford said she has been particularly active in the United Cultures Club, where the focus became educating students about Islam after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

        “There's such a need for togetherness,” Miss Blandford said, “for oneness in the world right now.”

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