Andrew J. Ginther, the mayor, soon will return to where Andy Ginther, the student, once prowled the halls.

Andrew J. Ginther, the mayor, soon will return to where Andy Ginther, the student, once prowled the halls.

For his first State of the City address, the former Columbus City Council president who was elected to succeed Michael B. Coleman in November has chosen as the venue Whetstone High School, from which he graduated in 1993.

Ginther will give the speech at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at the school, 4405 Scenic Drive.

"We've been very, very busy in my first 27 days on the job," Ginther said last week. "We've got some great plans and ideas that we want to share with folks at my alma mater.

"It's an exciting time for me, somebody born and raised in Columbus, a Columbus City Schools graduate, Whetstone graduate, a Clintonville guy who's now residing there and raising my family."

Those interested in attending the State of the City event may make reservations at

"I think we're already -- and it's a month away -- over 400, maybe 500 RSVPs," Ginther said. "I think there's good energy, good excitement."

Some former classmates already have sent pictures of Ginther in his high school days "looking as cool as a kid in the early '90s could," he said.

"We'll be digging out more embarrassing photos of me as a Whetstone Brave," Ginther added.

"I know I'll be there," said Errole Rembert, who was Ginther's volleyball coach in high school.

"What I remember most is he always wanted to be a politician," Rembert recalled. "When we went on trips in volleyball, he always talked about wanting to get into a class called Problems of Democracy, or something like that. He'd say he couldn't wait until his senior year so he could take that class.

"I guess it all turned out for the best."

Ginther's former coach said he found it remarkable that the former student would return as mayor to give one of his first major addresses.

"Kids always say things: 'I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that,' and they rarely do, but I guess he's living the dream," Rembert said. "To be mayor of the city, that's a tremendous accomplishment."

As Ginther pointed out, as of last week he had been mayor less than a month, so there aren't a lot of laurels on which to rest for his State of the City address.

"The speech will be a little bit about what we've done, but it's more going to be not about where we've been, what we've done, but where we're headed," Ginther said.

The mayor said he plans to offer more details about his goal of making Columbus "America's Opportunity City," which happens to be the slogan on a T-shirt available from Traxler Custom Printing, based in Clintonville.

"We at Traxler Custom Printing believe Mayor Ginther and his staff bring the opportunity for continued prosperity in Columbus, as well as the ability for family businesses like ours to grow within the comfort and support of the city as we work together to create and retain jobs and the chance at upward mobility," reads the company's website.

The shirts cost $22. According to the site, $6.14 of each one sold will go to Community Kitchen Inc. Located on South Ohio Avenue, the nonprofit organization's website states that it "provides basic safety net and emergency food service to our community."