Goodwin honors three Wood County students

PARKERSBURG -Three high school juniors from Wood County were among 56 across the state named as the U.S. Attorney’s Ambassadors for Justice during a ceremony at the Culture Center in Charleston.

The program is an initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. It honors high school juniors who have shown outstanding leadership skills and a commitment to social justice.

Named were Shalin Gandhi of Parkersburg High School, Matthew Zlatkind of Williamstown High School and Allison Walker of Parkersburg South High School.

“This isn’t just an award or a title,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. “This is an ongoing mission for me, my office, our schools, our communities, and for each of these Ambassadors for Justice, so that together we can exert positive influences in our schools and communities,” said Goodwin.

The U.S. Attorney’s Ambassadors for Justice program was created by Goodwin last year in response to rising school bullying and social media threats involving young people. The program also was spurred by a February 2012 school shooting at Chardon (Ohio) High School where a student opened fire on his classmates, killing three and wounding two others.

Other episodes involving planned violent attacks by young people that were prevented due to the swift actions of students and school Prevention Resource Officers in the Southern District of West Virginia have also encouraged Goodwin’s initiative.

Nominations to be U.S. Attorney’s Ambassadors for Justice are made by school principals and administrative leaders. Goodwin said that outstanding character, devotion to citizenship, and a commitment to serving others are fundamentals for nomination.