Gov. DeWine pays visit to SHS


Mallory Bonbright

LISTEN IN. Gov. Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine participate in a mental health roundtable discussion with SHS students, with Principal Doug Mader and Superintendent Frank Forsthoefel sitting in. Both the presentation of senior Madeline Hampson’s scholarship and the roundtable were held in the Hub. “It was a rectangular table, which was a little confusing,” said Katie Good, 12, who participated in the discussion.

When Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his security team drove down Cornell Rd. on Mon., May 6, they didn’t pass SHS—they turned into the driveway and continued until Gov. DeWine was inside the building.

Gov. DeWine’s visit to SHS had two intentions: first, to present senior Madeline Hampson with a full-ride scholarship to Spring Hill College, a scholarship given in his name to several students, Hampson, of course, being one.

While at SHS, Hampson participated in the DECA program, volleyball, diving, and track.

The DeWine Family Scholarship benefits Ohioan students who need financial assistance to attend the College. Gov. DeWine sits on Spring Hill College’s board of trustees.

The second reason for Gov. DeWine’s trip was a topic that has been a central source of discussion in schools of late: mental health. Along with First Lady Fran DeWine, Gov. DeWine discussed mental health with counselors before participating in a roundtable discussion with the student leaders that produced January’s mental health panel discussion at SHS.

“He came to give Maddie Hampson a scholarship to Spring Hill—a full ride—and then, you know, kind of on the side, he heard about the mental health forum that we all did and he wanted to have a roundtable with us,” said Katie Good, 12.

Along with Good, seniors Samantha Fernandez, Jessica Lu, Xadi Ndiaye, and Allison Landrum and junior Kelley Kossanyi also participated in the roundtable.

Although DeWine’s visit was not originally planned around the mental health roundtable, Landrum says “it wasn’t a small thing by any means.”

“He was definitely taking initiative,” Good said.

As he received input from the students, Gov. DeWine also told them about what exactly that “initiative” means for the state legislature.

“He said that they were—in their budget that they were sending to the legislature… that they had a fund put aside for wrap-around services to distribute to schools across the state. So that could be, like, nutrition services or for mental health resources,” Ndiaye said.

Aside from his legislative duties as a public servant, Gov. DeWine also discussed a personal motivation for concern about mental health in schools.

“His granddaughter had a friend and they saw him in a musical and he actually just committed suicide a couple days ago,” Lu said.

The Governor and Fran DeWine were also accompanied by a representative from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, who gave the students posters to share with the counselors in order to publicize some of the mental-health-related services the state offers.

Ndiaye recalls a poster that featured the Crisis Text Line, a 24/7 emotional support service that can be accessed by texting “4HOPE” to the number 741 741.  

Local journalists interviewed the students and took footage of the event, which Landrum says “made [the students] feel very heard.” Principal Doug Mader as well as Superintendent Frank Forsthoefel sat in on the roundtable, which the students feel helped optimize the impact of their discussion.

“As great as it is to talk to the Governor, Mr. Mader was also there listening and so was Mr. Forsthoefel, so I think… they obviously have a closer connection to our community so we’re able to kind of… enact change on all levels,” Ndiaye said.

Gov. DeWine arrived at SHS at around 1:30 and departed approximately an hour later.