Representative Anne Gonzales (center) is pictured with Borders and Gellner.
On February 21, Anna Borders and Sarah Gellner, former Genoa Middle School students and current Westerville Central High School 9th graders, traveled to the Ohio Statehouse to give testimony before the State and Local Government Committee in support of a bill they created and have pending in the Ohio House of Representatives. House Bill 12 (amended from House Bill 143) proposes making the barn the official historical architectural structure for the State of Ohio.
This journey began when the girls, along with Adriane Thompson, Rachel Kauffman and Danielle Ingram, were 7th graders at Genoa, as part of a Social Studies project led by teachers Caley Nestor-Baker and gifted facilitator Debbie Pellington. The bill is sponsored and was introduced to the House by Representative Anne Gonzales (District 19). During the last two years, the girls have been using mail, e-mail and calling campaigns as well as a grassroots social media campaign using a website, Twitter and Facebook to garner support. “Regardless of their architectural style, barns have played an integral part in the economic, historical, and cultural development of Ohio,” Borders testified. The students further pointed out that barns are significant because they are all over the state and have served important purposes in Ohio’s development. “Barns embody our historic traditions and customs while reflecting the farming advancements seen today. Barns are a vital part of Ohio’s heritage. By making the barn the official historical architectural structure and a state symbol of Ohio, we can preserve a part of our past and future,” testified Gellner.
Following the girls’ remarks, the committee members voted 11 - 0 to move the barn bill forward. Representative Rick Carfagna (District 68) complimented the students on their testimony and dedication to this effort.
As awareness and support increases throughout the state of Ohio, the pupils are seeking support from the Westerville Community by visiting their website at www.ohiobarnbill.weebly.com or their twitter feed at twitter.com/ohiobarnbill.