Steve Risk will be Distinguished Speaker for graduation

| May 13, 2020

Distinguished Speaker - Steve RiskWEBSteve Risk, retired president of Paul Risk Construction, will be the Distinguished Speaker during Solanco’s virtual graduation ceremony to be broadcast at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 5. Risk, Solanco Class of 1972, has had a tremendously positive impact on the Solanco community. That includes 20 years as a school board member, founding member of SECA (Southern End Community Association), and a leadership role in the local youth football program. “I have been on the football field for 54 years,” Risk said, recalling his extensive gridiron experience which includes playing high school football for Solanco, coaching midget football, and his current service as a high school football referee, which began in 1975. “There is nothing like Friday night under the lights.”

(A link to the graduation broadcast will be posted on the Solanco website and social media prior to 6 p.m. on June 5. Each graduating senior has had the opportunity to submit a brief video or photo that will be included in the broadcast. In addition to Risk, other speakers at graduation with include the Class of 2020 valedictorian and salutatorian, Solanco High School Principal Scott Long, and Solanco School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Bliss.)

In his address to graduating seniors, Risk will ask, “Who is responsible for you now?” He will encourage graduates to start small and gradually get bigger and bolder in their efforts to improve the world. He will recommend they volunteer for programs they enjoy, and to be supportive of their community.

Steve Risk leads by example when it comes to community service. He joined the school board in 2000 “to use my business background and construction experience to provide assistance in cost-effective building projects.” During his final five years on the board, Risk was president of the school board. The Risk family has a long and distinguished record of leadership and service to our community. Steve’s mother, Shirley Risk, served on the Solanco School Board from 1975 to 1985, and she was the first female school board president in Lancaster County. Steve’s grandfather Donald C. Risk served on the East Drumore School Board. School board members are responsible for very important decisions including school budgets, personnel matters, curriculum, and the maintenance of school facilities. They are volunteers; they are not paid for the remarkable amount of time, effort and energy they provide in service to students, parents, school staff and our entire community.

During his early years in elementary school, Risk attended one room schoolhouse. His first job was at age 12 on his grandfather’s beef farm. In 1969, at age 16, Risk began working as a general contractor in his family business, which launched his long and successful career with Paul Risk Construction, Inc. During high school, Risk’s favorite classes and activities included math and shop class, and football. Risk recalls print shop teacher Gaylord Arnst, and the students in Arnst’s class producing many of the printed products needed by Solanco schools. Risk also has strong memories of Tom Regan, a firm yet fair assistant principal at the high school.

After graduation, Risk spent several years working as an equipment operator and in other positions in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he met Kim Merck. They were married in 1977. After returning to Solanco, Risk worked his way up at Paul Risk Construction, earning the position of president in 1995. He also volunteered his time and talents to the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, youth baseball, adult sports (including time as a softball umpire), the Slumbering Groundhog Lodge of Quarryville, and others.

In 2003, Risk was honored as the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Man of the Year. This past March he received the Community Service Award from the Southern Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes a person who has provided important, lasting, volunteer public service in Quarryville and southern Lancaster County.

Following Risk’s retirement, Steve and Kim’s son DJ became President of Paul Risk Construction in 2016. Steve and Kim’s daughter Megan works in Ruth Chris Steakhouse Corporate Headquarters in Winter Park, Florida. Steve Risk’s involvement in the community continues through his service on the board of directors for the Strasburg Railroad, the National Center for Construction Education and Research (Risk was a founding member), and other community organizations and activities.

The Risk family first settled in Solanco 224 years ago. “My children DJ and Megan are the 8th generation of our family here since 1796.” Risk will tell graduating seniors, whether they stay in this area or branch out into the world, that “Solanco is a great place to be, and a great place to be from.”

Category: Community Happenings, Featured Stories, High School News

About the Author ()

Keith Kaufman is the Director of Community Relations for Solanco School District. 786-5617.

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