How Sweet it is to be in Junior Leadership

Written by 2019 Junior Leadership Class Member: Dina Usanovic


The Junior Leadership class of 2019 had the joy of meeting yet again on January 8th, 2019, at the Blair Center in Westfield. Apart from hearing a multitude of languages spoken during lunch (French, German, and more!) it was a relatively “normal” day.

Matt Berthold and members of the Junior Class

Our first speaker of the morning was Matt Berthold, COO of Westfield Bank,  Signature Class ’08.  He had a lot to say about banking, specifically the fact that he never planned to become a COO! It became apparent through his “interview” conducted by Mrs. Carrie Park that people don’t necessarily have to plan their whole lives out from the beginning and just stick to that one plan for their whole life. That was a common theme throughout the day and it’s possible Mrs. Park intended just that.

In Mr. Berthold’s case, he did not declare to his family and friends at nine years old that he wanted to be a COO at a

Bob Gillingham, Signature Class ’98, enjoying lunch with the Juniors

bank. He most likely wanted to be a cowboy (not an uncommon goal at the age of nine). Instead of heading west into the sunset, he chose a more practical route: banking. While most people don’t see banking as the vanguard of interesting jobs, he seems to be happy with his career choice.

Mr. Berthold’s interview was a great segue way into the stock market! With Bob Gillingham’s ample knowledge about the stock market, the Junior Leadership class learned how to differentiate between an investment-worthy stock and a stock that will make a hilarious “first time investment failure” story. Utilizing a number of websites, the class learned to analyze a stock and use the information to make an educated guess about how the stock will perform. With a newfound inspiration to start investing now, even if it’s only $100 in the stock market, the class headed to lunch.

Emily Hadler, JrLMC ’19 and Lisa Keltz Signature Class ’19 minding their manners.

As we were being treated to a four course meal courtesy of Westfield Bank, it’s possible that some of us were shocked by the number of utensils on the table. It is also possible that a few only understood when to use each specific utensil because at some point in their lives, they had watched “Pretty Woman.” In any case, the entire class now knows the proper etiquette to display at fancy dinners with multiple utensils (and we can only hope no one dares to pick up their fork after they drop it on the ground).

JrLMC members with Reese Wells

We were also privileged with special guest appearances from the famous Wells boys. The oldest, Reese, instructed the class to “just have fun in college.” Reese’s idea of fun, it turns out is computer coding. His main message was that college students should not be stressed about taking the right classes and picking the right major, they should use the time to explore different career choices in order to find something they truly like. The younger son, Connor, had a similar message. He claimed that it was okay to not quite know where you’re going until you get there. Both of their speeches were incredibly reassuring, especially to those who have no idea what they’d like to do with their life. It is also important to understand that life is long, and you probably won’t end up doing just one thing forever (the credit for this idea is owed to Mrs. Park, she has great ideas and everyone should listen to her).

Connor Wells speaking to JrLMC


Hairnet models at McJak Candy

Not to be outdone by the girls, hairnets and beardnets at McJak Candy.

After the Blair Center, the class headed to a candy factory right here in Medina County called, McJak Candy (yes, a candy factory). If you’ve ever seen, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, it was nothing like that. However, that’s not to say that it wasn’t cool. To paint a picture: there are suckers everywhere, it smells like grape, there are 2,000 pound bags of sugar here and there, and everyone is wearing a hairnet on their heads (and in some cases, on their beards). The class was taken on a tour of the factory and learned about what the managers do and how candy is made. Unfortunately, the tour was cut short. To console the class’s disappointment of having to leave, we were supplied with personal bags filled with McJak goodies. 

In the end, it was worth it. The day was full of valuable lessons and interesting events, just as all of the Junior Leadership days are. We can’t wait to tell you about the next one! 

What does 2,000 pounds of sugar look like? (Hint: it’s not wearing a red shirt)



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