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North Hills Monthly

New & Notable, June 2015

Jun 01, 2015 11:33AM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

SV Succeeds at Moot Court Competition

Aquinas Academy Students Donate Hair
Aquinas Academy fourth-grade students Grace Gasior and Julia Meland donated their hair to organizations helping children and women who have lost their hair through illness or trauma. Wigs for Kids was the recipient of Gasior’s contribution, and Meland donated her hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program.

Dietz Makes Film Debut
Shaler Area School District Marzolf Primary School second-grader Gavin Dietz will make his film debut in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl when it is released this month. He plays Thomas Mann’s character, Greg Gaines, as a child in flashback scenes. Shot in Pittsburgh last year, the film follows two teen filmmakers who befriend a girl with cancer.

O’Toole Wins Diocese of Pittsburgh Spelling Bee
Saint Kilian Parish School sixth-grader Thomas O’Toole III won the 22nd Annual Diocese of Pittsburgh Spelling Bee at St. Louise de Marillac School in May, lasting 21 rounds. Fifty schools in the diocese participated. The winning word was “indisputable.”

Evans City Students Raise Money for AHA
In the Evans City Elementary and Middle School’s annual Jump Rope for Heart event, students raised $5,602.95 for the American Heart Association; a total that surpassed last year’s amount. 

St. Sebastian Students Win Awards at Science Competition
St. Sebastian School students competed in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science state competition at Penn State University, where Xavier Moskala won first place and a perfect score, meaning that all judges believed his project went above and beyond what was expected. Also earning first place honors were Mary Doerfler, Emma Sennott, Patrick Sharpe and Kate Wells. John Adamczyk, Anne Kilpatrick, Lauren Krebs and Michael Taffe received second places. Bryan Annis moderated.

Belsky and King Receive NA Federation of Teachers Scholarships
North Allegheny School District seniors Kara Belsky and Caroline King have been chosen to receive North Allegheny Federation of Teachers scholarships. Belsky will be attending Miami University of Ohio this fall pursuing a major in early childhood education. King will attend Penn State University this fall and major in elementary education with a possible minor in special education. These NAFT scholarship awardees will each receive $2,500.

Leech a U.S. Presidential Scholar Semifinalist
Shady Side Academy senior Brendan Leech has been selected as one of 565 semifinalists nationwide to advance to the final round of the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars competition. He is among 17 semifinalists chosen in Pennsylvania, including four in the Pittsburgh area.

FCAHS Choirs Win Awards
The Fox Chapel Area High School choirs, including the Concert Choir, Vulpes Cantantes, and the Madrigal Singers, received gold ratings in their respective categories at the Heritage Music Festival in Nashville, TN. Also, the Concert Choir and the Vulpes Cantantes received first places, and all three ensembles received an Adjudicator Award. The Madrigal Singers received an award for being the overall highest scoring ensemble of all the choirs in the entire competition. The FCA choirs are directed by teacher Ben Murray.

Excellence is Ageless Gala a Success
The Lutheran SeniorLife Foundation’s Excellence is Ageless Gala was held in April at Heinz Field East Club Lounge and raised $175,000 for benevolent care. The event celebrated living an abundant life and the spirit and vitality of older adults. Master of Ceremonies was Steve Blass, and Dr. Frank T. and Mary Baker of Kittaning were presented with the Excellence Ageless Award.

BHS Receives 2014 APEX Award
Butler Health System has been recognized with a Gold Level 2014 VHA Mid-Atlantic Achieving Patient Care Excellence Award. For five of the last seven years, BHS has been recognized for excellence by VHA. BHS was one of only two health systems recognized at the gold level in the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes member hospitals from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Swartwout Wins Outstanding Youth Citizen Award
Saint Joseph High School senior Anna Swartwout was in the top 50 in the East Outstanding Young Citizen Award for 2015, and is the Saint Michael’s Book Award recipient for Academic Achievement and Social Conscience in 2014. During her attendance at SJHS, she was student ambassador leader, co-president of SJHS Outreach Team, and volleyball co-captain.

Posana at the Healing House Opens
Cara Cheeley has opened Posana at the Healing House, a wellness spa offering therapeutic massage, organic skin care and yoga., 724-766-3412.

La Roche College Holds 50th Commencement Ceremony
At La Roche College’s 50th commencement ceremony in May, 392 degrees were conferred, and management consultant Christine Spadafor delivered the commencement address. La Roche presented Spadafor with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and the La Roche College Woman of Providence Award was presented to Sister Myra Rodgers, CDP. The college also presented the President’s Awards for Leadership and Scholarship that are conferred by President Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D., to 2015 Traditional Recipient Jalyn Yael Evans of Penn Hills, and 2015 Nontraditional Recipient Yasmina Murad of West Mifflin.

Isaacs Named First-Team Atlantic-10 All-Conference
North Allegheny graduate and Duquesne University freshman women’s tennis player Kylie Issacs has been named First-Team Atlantic-10 All-Conference. Isaacs led the Duquesne team with 45 total wins, which tied the single-season school record and was the most-ever for any freshman. She also tied the school record for freshman singles wins with 26, and played at #1 singles where she had a record of 26-7. Isaacs had 19 wins in the #1 doubles spot which was the second-most for any freshman.

K-9 Six Project to Pair Dogs with Veterans
Kandy Barkley, owner of Eye Kandy, and Cathi Erb, owner of My Dog’s Care Center, have partnered to form a new nonprofit organization, The K-9 Six Project., which will pair shelter dogs with veterans to help ease anxiety, reduce stress and offer compassion. (See story, page XX.)

Oakland Catholic Dedicates Peace Pole
Oakland Catholic High School’s graduating class has donated a peace pole which reads “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight different languages to the school as its senior gift. This is in addition to a monetary donation to The Oakland Catholic Fund. The monument is part of The Peace Pole Project, whose mission to connect people all over the world through a universal message to pray and strive for peace.

SV C.A.R.E. Students Honored
Seneca Valley Intermediate High School (IHS) Create a Respectful Environment (C.A.R.E.) student representatives were celebrated for their dedication throughout the school year to build a positive school culture through a recognition event on May 8. The IHS invited Dr. Koch, Connoquenessing Valley Elementary (CVE) third grade teacher, and her class to this event, to celebrate their efforts in donating more than 300 food items within their own classroom. Earlier this year, IHS students joined the students at CVE to donate to a local food cupboard, donating over 2,000 food items.

FCAHS Students Bike from MD to PA
Fox Chapel Area High school physical education teacher Dave Battista takes a FCAHS group biking every year, and this year, the group spent two days riding from Cumberland, MD, to Point State Park in Pittsburgh. Bicyclists included sophomore Chaz Okunewick, freshman Nathan VanDemark and his dad Andy VanDemark, senior Anthony Pirollo, senior Brian Bartels and his mom Amy Bartels, Battista, senior Treavor Moore, senior Ian Gillespie, junior Charles Irakoze, and social studies teacher Brandon Peifer.

Navid, Simard and Rockman Win Essay Awards
Shady Side Academy Middle School eighth-graders won awards in the Third Annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Women’s History Month Essay Contest that is conducted by the Girls Coalition of Southwestern Pennsylvania and presented by UPMC. Walter Navid tied for first place and won a $100 prize. Erin Simard and Ariel Rockman tied for second place and won $50. The students were encouraged to enter the competition by eighth-grade social studies teacher Molly Girts.

SV Awarded in PenSPRA Communications Contest
In the Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association’s Excellence in Education Communications 2014 Contest, the Seneca Valley communications department received an Award of Excellence for the e-newsletter Raider Pride; an Award of Excellence for the e-publication of the 2013-14 SV Annual Report, Sharing Our Vision; an Award of Excellence for the SV School District website; and an Award of Honor for the 2014-15 SV calendar “Stand Out!”

Kunselman Authors Book
The law firm of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky announced that shareholder Harry F. Kunselman has authored the recently published Pennsylvania Commercial Litigation 2nd Edition, published by The Legal Intelligencer. Kunselman has been with the law firm since 1994 and became a shareholder in 1998.

Middle States Association Recognizes FCAHS
The Middle States Association (MSA) Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools recognized Fox Chapel Area High School for programs of distinction in visual arts. FCAHS is the first MSA-accredited school to be recognized with this honor.

Shaler Area Elementary Students Celebrate Reading
At the third annual Titan Trail Million-Word Readers Celebration in May, 143 Shaler Area Elementary school students celebrated reading a million or more words.

Rarely Seen Eagles at Aviary
A pair of Bateleur eagles was recently released into a newly redesigned exhibit at the National Aviary, where they can now be viewed by the public. These birds of prey have never before been seen at the National Aviary and are rarely seen in zoos.

SV Students Successfully Complete Westinghouse Exam
Thirty Seneca Valley students successfully completed the Westinghouse Science Honors Institute program. They are Alyssa Boccardi, Michael Boccardi, Colton Botta, Zachary DeDionisio, Julia DiNicola, Nicholas Francino, Cassidy Friedrich, Carinne Geil, Peter Gemperle, John Geyer, Melissa Greco, Jason Happ, Mira Hoo, Darpun Kohli, Katy Kolor, Michael Kolor, Rhea Kudtarkar, Lindsey Larune, Mark Livingstone, Emily Mattys, Peyton Moriarity, Jorge Olan, Katie Platt, Jeffrey Rodrigues, Kendall Rusnak, Matthew Saluga, Zachery Schoenly, Emily Schweitzer, Siona Sharma and Tyler Spagnelo. Also, junior Kendall Rusnak finished with the eighth best score in the region.

Shaler Area High School Latin Students Excel on Exams
Testing their knowledge in the Latin language and mythology, more than 30 Shaler Area High School students received recognition for their performances on two national exams. In Latin I, Mia Fantozzi, Alyssa Krause and Emily Weidner received ribbons and certificates; and Adam Seibert, Alyssa Ferianc, William Dwyer, Madaline Wightman, Juliana Wightman, Shannon Dunn, Lachlan Loudon, Meghan Balkey, Jordan Dourlain, Rebecca Sagi, Justin DeSabato and Nick Stewart received certificates. In Latin II, Rosalia Paras received the Gold Summa Cum Lade award; Amanda Sartori, Emily Yuretich, James Clark and Natalie Bedel received the Silver Maxima Cum Laude Award; and Antonio Tedesco, Kaitlin Parente and Christian Seelhorst received the Cum Laude award. In Latin III, Sydney Schmitt and Noelle Koch received the Magna Cum Laude Award; and Rachel Gralewski received the Cum Laude award. In Latin IV Grammar, Josh Bartosh received the Gold Summa Cum Laude award. In Latin V-VI, Josiah Johnson received the Silver Maxima Cum Laude award. Also, in the Medusa Mythology Exam, Josiah Johnson received the Silver Medal award, and Emily Ondo and Madison Rhodes received the Corona Olivae award.

SV Named Best Overall Ceramics Program
Seneca Valley was named the best overall ceramics program at the 2015 Standard Ceramics: Suburban Pittsburgh School’s Exhibition in April out of 10 participating school districts. The school received 500 pounds of clay.

Berdik Qualifies for FBLA’s National Leadership Conference
Shaler Area High School junior David Berdik will represent the school district in the Future Business Leaders of America’s (FBLA) National Leadership Conference in Chicago in June after placing second in the state in the Desktop Application Programming category.

FCAHS Students Compete at State TSA Conference
Fox Chapel Area High School students won awards at the Pennsylvania Technology Student Association State Leadership Conference held in April at the Seven Springs Conference Center. FCA first-place winners included senior Gerry Chen; juniors Daniel Beluk, Ishan Khatri, Joseph Klaas, Stephen Polcyn and Sreeroopa Som; sophomore Samantha Cider; and freshman Sarthak Navjivan. FCA third-place winner was sophomore Jeremy Rodrigues. Additional FCA finalists earning fourth through tenth places included seniors Joshua Dorn and Taylor Edwards; juniors Daniel Beluk, Jacob Caruso, Ishan Khatri, Joseph Klaas, Joshua Manuel, Stephen Polcyn, Alisa Quemado, Jacob Smith, Manasa Thada and Bailey Yousem; and sophomores Samantha Cider, Donovan Gorgas, Yelim Lee, Tanvi Meringenti, Mackenzie Myers, Juliette Naugle and Ayan Sinha.

SV Succeeds at Moot Court Competition
Seneca Valley Senior High School students placed at the annual International Criminal Court High School Moot Court Competition. The event was sponsored by Global Solutions Pittsburgh and hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. SV juniors Christina Dadey and Siona Sharma took first place. Seniors Amanda Spangler and Maresa Vaccarello placed second. Also, Spangler and Sean Yanez earned best oralist awards for their legal arguments. Partners Elisa Vogel and Yanez, and Spangler and Vaccarello received special awards for their written legal briefs.

Rauscher Named Shaler Area’s New Athletic Director
Clint Rauscher has been named Shaler Area School District’s new athletic director and will start his four-year contract on July 1. He replaces Paul Holzshu, who is retiring. Rauscher is the former athletic director at Cambridge Springs High School in the Penncrest School District.

Stanasolovich Selected as Diamond Awards Recipient
Louis P. Stanasolovich, CFP®, CCO, CEO, president and founder of Legend Financial Advisors, Inc.®, has been selected by The Pittsburgh Business Times as a 2015 Diamond Awards recipient for being one of the ‘20 Best CEOs’ from the Greater Pittsburgh geographic area.

FCAHS Students Selected for PMEA Choirs
Fox Chapel Area High School students were selected by audition to perform with the 2015 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 1 Chorus and with the PMEA Region 1 Chorus. They are senior Elianna Paljug, junior Eli Berman, and sophomores Nadia Dandashi, Philip Swigon, Thomas Swigon and William Schwartzman.

Students Receive High Honors at La Roche College
La Roche College graduating seniors received departmental honors at the annual Honors Convocation in April. They are Jalyn Evans of Penn Hills, Jesse Marweg of Wexford, Marley Romano of Windber, Amanda Worsley of McCandless and Kaylee Zozos of Pittsburgh.

Parris and Warburton Awarded Napier Wilson Scholarships
Christopher Parris of Burgettstown, and Andrew Warburton of Sewickley, were awarded the annual G. Napier and Ellen T. Wilson Scholarship by officials at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System for their service to veterans at VA Pittsburgh. Parris will be attending Edinboro University of Pennsylvania to study film making and Warburton will be attending the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with the goal of becoming a physician.

FCAHS Students Selected for Honor Bands
Fox Chapel Area High School and Dorseyville Middle School students were recently chosen to perform with prestigious bands and at special band festivals. FCAHS senior Jennifer Mountz was selected by audition to perform with the 2015 National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Band. Jennifer Mountz, junior Olivia Van Dyke and sophomore Philip Swigon were selected by audition to perform with the 2015 Pennsylvania Music Educations Association All-State Wind Ensemble. Mountz, Van Dyke and sophomores Yelim Lee and Swigon were selected by audition to perform with the 2015 PMEA Region One Honors Band. Mountz, Van Dyke, Lee, Swigon, Bryce Ryan and Thomas Swigon were selected to perform with the 2015 PMEA District One East-District Band. Mountz, Van Dyke, sophomores Andy Fugh, Won Jun Kang, Ryan, Philip Swigon and Robert Wallace; freshmen Benjamin Franks-Meinert, Elizabeth Mountz, Victoria Mountz, Jorgen Wu, and Zachary Zytnick; DMS eighth-graders Justin Breen, Hannah Kim, Alexander Perez, and Glenna Van Dyke; and DMS seventh graders Michael Mendelson, Jacob Rendall and Anzu Sekikawa were selected by audition to perform with the Allegheny Valley Honors Band.

Shaler Area Musicians Receive Top Awards at the Festivals of Music
Shaler Area High School student musicians returned from the Festivals of Music with 16 top awards as well as the Dr. Tim Lautzenhauser’s Esprit de Corps award. Those recognized with a Superior Rating, first place, include Shaler Area’s Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band; Chamber Choir and Women’s Choir; Marching Band; Dance Team and Drum Line; and the String Orchestra. Also, the Wind Ensemble received the Best Overall Band award. The Women’s Choir received the Best Overall Choir award. The Concert Choir was recognized with an Excellent Rating, second place. The Marching Band received the Best Overall band award and Best Overall Auxiliary award, and the Silk Line and Majorettes were recognized with an Excellent Rating first place.

SV Chorus Brings Home Accolades from Competition
Seneca Valley Choirs, grades eight through twelfth, competed in the Heritage National Music Festival in New York City and brought home several accolades. The 8th Grade Chorus took first place in the Junior High School Concert Choir Division, Sweepstakes Award, Adjudicator’s Award, Gold Rating, and Highest Scoring Choir in the entire competition; the 8th  Grade Chamber Choir took Second Place in the Jr. High Chamber Choir Division and Gold Rating; the 9th Grade Chorus took First Place in the 1A High School Concert Choir Division, and Gold Rating; the 10th Grade Chorus took First Place in the 2A High School Concert Choir Division, Sweepstakes Award, Adjudicator’s Award, and Gold Rating; the 11th-12th Grade Concert Choir took Second Place in the 3A High School Concert Choir Division and Gold Rating; the Madrigal Choir took First Place in the 3A High School Chamber Choir Division, Sweepstakes Award, Adjudicator’s Award, and Gold Rating; the Women’s Chorus took First Place in the Women’s Choir Division and Gold Rating; the Men’s Chorus took First Place in the Men’s Chorus Division and Gold Rating; and the Show Choir took First Place in the Show Choir Division and Gold Rating. Also, senior Ellie Lahm received a Solo Award and senior Hayley Hoss received the Standing Ovation Award. The SV secondary choirs are led by teachers Aaron Magill, Bobi-Jean Alexander, Toni Keefer and Claire Barker.

St. Sebastian Teams Compete at Crusader Bowl
Two St. Sebastian Junior High teams recently competed at the Crusader Quiz Bowl at Bishop Canevin High School. Twenty-five teams across the Diocese of Pittsburgh competed, and St. Sebastian competitors included eighth-grader Mary Doerfler; seventh-graders Eric Ford, Sarah Petrunia and Emma Polen, and sixth-grader Connor Stutz. Mary Doerfler and Sarah Petrunia won second place overall.

Godse Named Semifinalist in U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
Fox Chapel Area High school senior Rama Godse has been named a semifinalist in the 2015 Unites States Presidential Scholars Program and is one of only 565 high school seniors from across the nation, and one of only 17 from Pennsylvania, chosen for this honor.