Superintendent’s Corner by Dr. Joe Clark

The Nordonia Hills City School District holds student and staff safety as its top priority. This includes more than just preventing acts of violence. The district is committed to providing students with the skills and tools they need to live healthy lives. One way this is done is through a program called Youth to Youth.

Nordonia Youth to Youth (Y2Y) is a youth-led prevention club at the high school, middle school, and Lee Eaton that has existed as a district club since the early 1990s (formerly Nordonia Teen Institute). The club empowers students to abstain from alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, and make healthy lifestyle choices with regard to their mental health, violence and other risky behaviors.

In 1998, Y2Y hosted its first annual winter retreat, a conference for group members to develop their leadership skills, learn more about making positive choices and receive encouragement from peers who make healthy choices. Since that first training, the group has hosted 22 annual retreats. The 2023 session will mark the 24th retreat, missing only 2020 due to COVID-19. The event has expanded to include students from other high schools, a one-day retreat option for fifth through eighth grade students, and an adult training track for professionals who work with young people in substance use prevention and mental health promotion. 

The Nordonia Y2Y retreat has become an annual tradition not just for Nordonia students but also for middle and high school students across the region. Prevention and education professionals have recognized Nordonia Y2Y as a leader in youth development. In 2017, the Ohio Prevention Professionals Association named Nordonia Y2Y Youth Prevention Organization of the Year.

Since its inception, Nordonia Y2Y has been a student activity based out of the high school and self-funded through fundraising. In 2016, the group applied for and received grant funding from the Summit County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health board to fund the retreat; a testament to this event’s positive impact on young people. Nordonia Y2Y has annually been a recipient of this funding since 2016. This funding is allocated specifically for this event and covers costs associated with providing a cutting-edge and engaging, educational, youth leadership development experience. It also allows Summit County students to attend at a discounted rate, increasing the local impact of the programming.

With more than 25 years of existence, Nordonia Y2Y is one of the oldest school-based youth-led prevention programs in the state (most programs are county or region based, not school-based). Nordonia Y2Y has served nearly two thousand students and adults since its creation and hopes to continue its positive impact for years to come. More information about programming and upcoming events can be found at

As always, thanks for supporting the Nordonia Schools, have a great month, and remember to follow me on Twitter @JoeSuperintend1. ∞