Upper Arlington News

UACA taking applications for junior directors

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Whether it's dressing up as a scary clown or dancing around at the Fourth of July parade, Upper Arlington Civic Association (UACA) junior directors mix in a lot of fun with their civic duties.

Upper Arlington High School senior Kaki Tzagournis said she particularly enjoyed dressing up for the Golden Bear Scare.

"I loved dressing up as a clown and scaring little kids," she said. "It was super fun and all the kids had a really good time."

Susie Hahn, co-director of the UACA's Junior Director Community Service and Scholarship program, said the application process is now open to choose the next group of junior directors, who are incoming high school seniors.

"The junior directors serve a 12-month term, May to May, and assist the civic directors in various community events," she said.

In return, the junior directors are awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Columbus Foundation at the end of their tenure.

She said the junior directors help in a variety of ways, including at the Haunted Forest during the Golden Bear Scare and assisting with set-ups for Upper Arlington's Christmas in the Park and July Fourth festivities.

"These are highly competitive positions, with only eight to 10 junior directors selected most years out of hundreds of applications," Hahn said.

Applicants may attend any high school in the greater Columbus area as long as they reside in Upper Arlington.

The application process will be completely online this year. Hahn said the online applications will soon be accessible through the UACA website.

The deadline for applying is April 14.

Junior Director Maggie Callaghan is also a senior at Upper Arlington High School.

She said being a part of the city's Fourth of July parade was her most memorable experience.

"We had a blast just dancing and getting all dressed up, even though we thought it was going to rain on us," she said. "Every year, you go and watch, but it was incredible to be in the parade, to be on the other side. It was a true honor."

Both Tzagournis and Callaghan said being a junior director is a great way to get involved with the community.

"I grew up going to these events and now, being able to help with them is really rewarding," Tzagournis said. "I love being able to give back to the community."

"I think it is imperative that teenagers understand the importance of community, unity, loyalty and teamwork," Callaghan said. "By working for a community organization, you learn to appreciate the wonderful environment here, which is something I think a lot of kids take for granted.

"And it's not every day you can walk in a parade, scare kids and be an elf," she said.

Hahn said each candidate is required to fill out a short application to give contact information and a list of their school and community activities. They must also provide two letters of recommendation from school, church or community leaders and submit a photo.

"We are interested in enthusiastic, hard-working and dedicated individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to bettering Upper Arlington," Hahn said. "Recommendations showing a history of such community involvement are very important, as are the interviews."

She said after the applications are reviewed by the co-directors, select candidates will be asked to come in and interview with UACA directors.

"It is good for citizens of any age to give back to the community and a community the size of Upper Arlington requires as many people as possible to get involved to make it a more diverse, inclusive and enjoyable place to live," Hahn said. "High school students may be somewhat isolated within their respective high schools and sports teams and becoming a JD gives them an opportunity to be more exposed to the community at large."

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