One local girl bringing diversity and awareness to her school


BETTSVILLE, OH (WNWO) - From Charlottesville to Las Vegas, anger and hate have been in the headlines a lot recently.

But one local girl has taken matters in to her own hands to combat it. She’s part of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership organization. HOBY challenges its participants with “passion Projects,” and Nicole Fry took the challenge to heart.

The Old Fort School District is a rural community where 97% of the population is white.

Fry explains, “at Old Fort were not very culturally diverse, so you know that’s not a bad thing but it’s also not a great thing. So it’s really cool to have a program like this because it exposes people to new perspectives.”

So Fry, a high school junior, has single-handedly started a program that brings different speakers to her school each month.

The speakers are professionals on a variety of different socio-economic topics. Everything from LGBTQ issues and women’s rights to human trafficking and mental health.

“All over summer, I worked on this relentlessly," she continued. "And through Harvey House, they got me some contacts. And it was enough for me to set up a schedule and kind of an outline of what I wanted to do.”

The goal of the project is to increase awareness and appreciation for others.

“We’ll get to hear from their perspective, and that will be really cool to hopefully see if people absorb this information. To see them go out and be more tolerant to other people. Think a second before you say something, and hopefully that will make a huge difference,” said Fry.

And Fry adds she has a great support system. Many of her friends are also involved in community service projects, including GlamourGals, which connects students with nursing home residents.

“Nikki is so passionate, and she’s so compassionate," emphasized her friend Gretta Kissell. "There are always the nice, pleasant patients but she’ll take the residents that sometimes aren’t as friendly and she just is so loving on them. And they form these great connections. It’s no surprise to me she’s taken on such a huge project.”

And Fry’s mom says she couldn’t be more proud of her

“She has worked so hard at this, and she has done it all on her own accomplishments. I’m just the taxi driver,” laughed Patty Fry.

Nicole Fry worked with Old Fort’s Superintendent Steve Anway and the high school’s Principal Erica Cobb, so the speaker’s will be hosted in the high school auditorium. The most recent schedule of events is:

- October 25: LGBTQ+ with Co-Founders of Harvey Hosue, Angela Boday and Kristen Angelo
- November 14: Socioeconomic Status with Sharon George from Firelands
- December 13: Digital Empowerment and Safety with Scott Frank
- January 24: Human Trafficking with Sister Mary, from Sisters in Shelters
- February 21: Domestic Violence with Tim Wise from Firelands
- March 21: Women's Rights with TBD
- April 19: Drug Awareness with TBD
- May 10: Mental Health with TBD

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