Just a Kid From Warrensville

Warrensville is a small community located on the southeast side of Cleveland, Ohio. That community is my home. Growing up I can remember Warrensville being a community of great  pride. You couldn't walk into a store, school, or home and not see the words "Tiger Pride" (Warrensville's mascot) plastered somewhere on a poster. 

If there's one word I could use to describe Warrensville I would say that it is a community of hope. 

The year was 1999 and a man by the name of Steve Bowman took over as principal of Warrensville Heights High School. The State of Ohio's concern was that Warrensville's test scores were near the bottom. However, Principal Bowman wanted to bring change to the way students approached academics, the way teachers taught their students, and the way the school partnered with the community. Change didn't come the first year nor the second, but the community of Warrensville continued to believe that Warrensville's future doctors, business people, teachers, and more would prevail and by the fourth year the State of Ohio saw a dramatic spike in test scores at Warrensville Heights High School. Warrensville had good reason to hope.

The year was 2000 and Warrensville Heights High School's men's basketball team was writing history as they were working to accomplish what hadn't been done before - win a State Title. But they're journey wasn't their own. It was for everyone who was a member of the Warrensville family. People showed up by the thousands as the team traveled through Cleveland, Canton, and onto Columbus competing for a shot at the state trophy. Many games were close. Other teams wanted to win just as bad ours. But our guys weren't just playing for a trophy. They were fighting for a community, to make it's name known, to make it a champion. Warrensville had good reason to hope. 

Through 2001-2003 Warrensville saw remarkable accomplishments among it's students. There had never been a time where such a large percentage of classes had gone on to college with full scholarships through athletic and academic means. College recruiters seemed to had booked a hotel next to Warrensville Heights High School as many of them came pouring in on a weekly basis. Television stations lined up to interview students that were going on to great collegiate institutions across the nation. Warrensville had good reason to hope. 

Since those years passed, unfortunately, I haven't been able to keep up with  many of the great things so many others have done. However, in recent months, I've been fortunate to see much of that spirit of pride and hope on social media as so many Warrensville graduates have become teachers, coaches, administrators, and more. I was also able to view pictures of people in the community come together to put on a reunion in the form of a football game. And like the old days, everyone showed their support. It was a beautiful display of community and love. Warrensville had good reason to hope.

Many people of Warrensville have gone on to start businesses and lead incredible careers in various industries. Some of us have even become successful enough where we can now begin sending a helping hand to others. The lack of economic prosperity has always been the one dynamic that has separated Warrensville from many other communities around Cleveland. However, I believe today Warrensville has enough smart business people who are capable and capitalized enough to invest in the community and create opportunities for others.

I would like to hear from many of you who live or are from Warrensville to gain a better understanding of how resources could be allocated by emailing me here steven@stevengunter.com. If you are a business person I would like to hear from you as well. Partnerships can go a long way. As we know, change doesn't happen overnight but one thing I'll tell you all who are reading this post today is that these written words are not in vain. Warrensville still has very good reason to hope.