All That Glitters Really is Gold

Girl Scout Gold Award Project Benefits West Geauga’s Facilities


Principal Jay Bishop honors Deanna Swinerton

Throughout the history of the West Geauga High, there has never been a long standing, permanent course for the cross country team to use for practices or races. The team usually had to practice on the Chesterland  roads or at various off-campus parks in the area. All of this, of course, was prior to the hard work and dedication of one West Geauga High School senior, Deanna Swinerton. Last year Deanna sought earned her Girl Scouts Gold Award by constructing a cross country course for the use of the school and the team.

The idea of the Girl Scout Gold Award is for a high school girl to change her community, not only for a moment, but continuing into the future. The award is prestigious, as it is the single highest honor a girl scout can achieve. The girls undergo a 7 step process to obtain the award. Deanna, being involved in Girl Scouts for 10 years, has been looking to achieve her gold award since the third grade.

Deanna has been on the West G. cross country team for 3 years (please see the related article in the Showcase section). The issue of not having a home course was very troubling to her; she felt the need, as a senior, to remedy the situation. She envisioned the perfect opportunity to solve a problem in her community (that was a close cause to her) and that was to build a course to earn her Gold Award.

She first presented the idea of her project to the Girl Scout Council in January of 2016. After receiving approval from the council, she immediately went to the administration to get the final approval. After meeting with Principal Mr. Jay Bishop, Superintendent Dr. Richard Markwardt, Mr.  Joe Leonette (the athletic director), and Mr. James Russo, the district’s business manager, she still needed all the supplies to begin construction.

Deanna received various donations from Anselmo Landscaping, CCM Rental, Monticello Garden Center and the West G Athletic Boosters. After obtaining all the approvals and the necessary supplies, the hard work really began.

July 17th of this year was the first day of construction. Raking, axing, digging, cutting trees down with chainsaws, and clipping branches was just part of the fun. There were a great deal of unexpected challenges within the actual construction. After big summer storms, the rain would wash away dirt and would expose more roots that needed to be removed. There was also a construction company that agreed to help, but due to a busy schedule, was unable to. Through all of this, the help of fellow Girl Scouts, members of the team, and the Swinerton family, the course was finished for the first home meet on September 20th. At the home meet, Deanna was recognized by Principal Bishop and finished first in the race.

After months of hard work, Deanna was officially awarded her Gold Award October 20th, 2016. The moment was bittersweet, as this was her last project as a Girl Scout.

She was recognized at a West G school board meeting for her hard work and dedication not only to the community, but to the school, also.