Jefferson High teens ready to speak out

January 27, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

by Kevin G. Gilbert / staff photographer

click below for larger image

Jefferson High teens ready to speak out

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Manieka Green and Nicole Ruble don't intend to let the fact that they are the youngest members ever to sit on the FOCUS Coalition board stop them from speaking their mind.

"From us, they'll get nothing but honesty," said Ruble, 17, a senior at Jefferson High School. "If an idea is bad, we won't be afraid to tell them."

They will be sitting down with other Free Our Community of Unhealthy Substances board members who are community leaders with experience in either the business world, health care or volunteer organizations.


Despite the age and experience differences, Ruble and Green said they believe they'll have a lot to offer the FOCUS Coalition.

"We'll be giving the youth point of view on issues," Green said.

Ruble and Green, also a 17-year-old senior at Jefferson High, were appointed to the board last week.

They drew the attention of the FOCUS Coalition and the Community and Police Partnership last year when they were outspoken at a town meeting, defending teenagers and asking for more programs to help give students things to do in the community.

Green said she believes the actions of a few young people in the county have given all teenagers a bad reputation.

The two work in the school's peer mediation program, so they've seen the bad side of young people.

But they said they also believe many young people simply need a chance to turn their lives around.

Karen Hoff, executive director of the FOCUS Coalition, said at the group's annual meeting that the board wanted youth representation so the views of young people could be heard.

Ruble and Green said they thought that was a good idea because many of the group's drug and alcohol programs involve young people.

"We're going to reflect the ideas of the youth of all of Jefferson High School, not just our own," Ruble said.

The two have been active in various school and youth-oriented programs.

Green is president of the student government association at Jefferson High, president of the National Honor Society, president of the local chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, and a member of the French National Honor Society.

Ruble is secretary of the senior class, vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America, West Virginia president of Distributive Education Clubs of America, a member of the National Honor Society, and treasurer of her 4-H club.

She also works part-time as a legal secretary at a Charles Town law firm.

"She's a great kid. She does everything else, I'm not surprised (she was named to the FOCUS board)," said attorney Michael Cassell.

In addition to their other activities, the two have been preparing for the next step in their education - applying to universities and seeking scholarship money.

"It's definitely a factor of time management getting everything worked in. Somehow we manage to pull it off," Ruble said.

Ruble plans to major in marketing and pre-law with a goal of eventually going into corporate law.

Green, who is waiting to hear back from several Ivy League schools, would like to major in international business and political science.

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