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North Hills Monthly

New & Notable February 2020

Jan 27, 2020 02:46PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine
DMS Students Score High on Math Exam
Four Dorseyville Middle School (DMS) students scored high on the American Mathematics Contest (AMC) 8 exam. Eighth-grader Joshua Brown placed first at DMS and scored in the top 5 percent nationally, also earning him an “Honor Roll” certificate. Additionally, seventh-grader Zhana Neumann placed second at DMS, and eighth-grader Dylan Work and seventh grader Jiei Masuda tied for third place at DMS. The AMC 8 is a multiple-choice examination in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem-solving skills. Pictured L-R: Zhana Neumann, Josh Brown, Dylan Work, and Jiei Masuda.

Choo Wins Butler Symphony Competition
Fox Chapel Area High School senior J. Oliver Choo recently won the Butler County Symphony Orchestra (BCSO) 2020 Young Artist Competition. Choo, a piano player, prepared a movement of a concerto at the competition which was held Jan. 13 at Slippery Rock University. He received a cash prize and the opportunity to perform with the BCSO at its concert April 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Butler Area Intermediate High School.

Renovated Palumbo Science Center Opens at La Roche
In January, La Roche University celebrated the opening of its renovated Palumbo Science Center, which will support a growing demand for STEM programming and enrollment in the sciences. In order to expand the areas of health care, technology and science programming, La Roche committed as part of its capital campaign to a multimillion-dollar renovation effort of the Science Center that includes new state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms, common areas and faculty offices that are conducive to the changing nature of STEM education in a more interactive and hands-on environment.

ACHIEVA Names New SVP and President
ACHIEVA, a nonprofit organization that provides lifelong supports to people with disabilities and their families, recently announced that Reid Wolfe, senior vice president and president, ACHIEVA Support, will retire effective May 1, 2020 and that Shayne Roos, senior vice president, ACHIEVA Support, will succeed Wolfe in both capacities. Roos starts his new role May 2. Roos has been Wolfe’s second-in-command for the past several years, making him well-positioned to continue the great work, innovation, and quality supports offered to people with disabilities and their families.

Seneca Valley JROTC Raider Battalion Places First
Members of the Seneca Valley Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Raider Battalion placed first at the Western PA JROTC Air Rifle Competition hosted on Dec. 21 at Seneca Valley. Additionally, Seneca Valley cadets swept the top three individual scores. Junior Mackenna O’Mara placed first, senior Joshua Thompson came in second and freshman Tyler Landry placed third. The shoulder-by-shoulder event included JROTC battalions from Albert Gallatin, Butler, Beaver and Valley high schools.

Shaler Area Recognizes Four Employees with the Extra Mile Award
Each January, Shaler Area School District recognizes district employees who have gone above and beyond with the Extra Mile Award. Nominations were solicited from the community through December and reviewed by a panel of district stakeholders. The following employees were awarded the Extra Mile Award during an all-district staff meeting on January 21: Bethany Bradley, K-6 English as a Second Language specialist; Karen Constantakis, school psychologist; Celine Lanier, Reserve Primary administrative assistant; and Kristin Tepshich, Shaler Area High School choral teacher. For more information on the award, visit

Haine Elementary LEGO League Team Wins Trophy
Haine Elementary School’s First LEGO League team, the Haine Raiders, earned the top elementary score and was awarded the Elementary Excellence Award trophy on Dec. 14 at the Western Pennsylvania Grand Championship at Sewickley Academy. Team members include fourth grade students Joey LaGamba, Tyler Lowes, Owen Murray, Riya Patel, Liam Sharp, Mann Shirsat, Gavin Sperry and Wyatt Ward. Throughout the season, Haine Raiders also placed second at the Tenacious Tiger Tech Tournament at Sharon Elementary School and was named the Top Rookie Team at the A Galaxy Far, Far Away Tournament. Haine’s FLL team is coached by Seneca Valley Haine Elementary teachers Mary Boburczak and Jeremiah Friday.

Children’s Hospital Opens Region’s First Pediatric Orthopaedic Urgent Care Center
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh recently opened UPMC Children’s Orthopaedic Urgent Care, a full-service urgent walk-in clinic where patients up to age 18 can receive immediate and specialized care for minor orthopaedic injuries, such as broken bones, fractures, sprains, tendon injuries and joint problems. The new center, located within the hospital, will not only lower wait times, but families will avoid an unnecessary trip to the Emergency Department. Pediatric surgeons and specialists from the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery will see patients from 5 to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends in the Lion Pod, Floor 2, at UPMC Children’s in Lawrenceville.

Fox Chapel Students Place at NA Forensic Tournament
Five Fox Chapel Area High School students recently placed at the North Allegheny Invitational Forensic Tournament. The Public Forum Debate team of senior Boomba Nishikawa and sophomore Ian Mackey-Piccolo won first place overall. Fifth place went to the Public Forum Debate team of seniors Rajeev Godse and Sina Shaikh. A sixth-place award went to junior Jackson Romero in Lincoln Douglas Debate. The Forensic Tournament was held in January at North Allegheny Intermediate and Senior High schools, with more than 400 students representing 26 public and private high schools from Pennsylvania and West Virginia competing at the event.

Ron Kaiser Publishes First Book at Age 88
Local Franklin Park  author, Ron Kaiser, has just published his first book, Herbert's War. It is the nonfiction story of Lt. Col. Anthony B. Herbert, a coal miner’s son from southwestern Pennsylvania who was named America’s most decorated soldier by President Truman only to be discredited by Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes. The book is told through the eyes of Herbert’s childhood friend, 88-year-old Ron Kaiser, who spent 10 years researching and writing the book in order to clear his friend’s name.

Heritage Valley Sewickley Named America’s 100 Best for Spine Surgery
Heritage Valley Sewickley is one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Spine Surgery according to a national study by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for information about physicians and hospitals. The achievement is part of findings released in the Healthgrades 2020 Report to the Nation. Heritage Valley Sewickley was also recognized for the following clinical achievements: Five-Star Distinction in Total Knee Replacement for 10 years in a row (2011-2020); Five-Star Distinction in Spinal Fusion Surgery in 2020; Five-Star Distinction for Treatment of Stroke in 2020; and Five-Star Distinction for Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism in 2020.

Fox Chapel Area Telethon for Library Raises More Than $45,000
Fox Chapel Area School District students held their 30th annual telethon in December and raised more than $45,400! This year’s total brings the money raised by Fox Chapel Area students and staff to more than $900,900 over the last 30 years for various local and regional charities. The telethon raised money for the Sharpsburg Community Library and involved students and staff from all six schools in the Fox Chapel Area School District. The telethon was coordinated by the Fox Chapel Area High School Student Government and the digital media production students of the high school who plan and produce the event. The telethon was streamed live on the Swift Fox Media YouTube Channel and can be watched at any time at

Eight Shaler Area students accepted into PMEA Junior High District Orchestra
Eight Shaler Area Middle School and High School students were accepted into the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s (PMEA) District 1 Junior High Orchestra, which is made up of seventh- through ninth-grade students. The PMEA District 1 Junior High Orchestra festival will be held at South Fayette High School, April 3-4, with guest conductor Dr. Jason Worzbyt from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The following students will be participating: ninth-graders Allison Ai, Grace Cosentino, Talia Montgomery and Rachel Scierka; eighth-graders Veronica Maurer and Dalaney Vaughn; and seventh-graders Sebastian Cosentino and Hailey Sanders.

Seneca Valley Students Attend PMEA Band Festival
Band festival attendees were treated to a sea of blue and black at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 5 Band Festival held Dec. 12-14. Seneca Valley had the largest representation of instrumentalists with over 35 percent of the band comprising of SV students. Representing Seneca Valley were Alisha Aboosally, Alaina Althouse, Caelen Blakely, Ashley Brenner, Ally Buchek, Luke Choban, David Choi, Jada Chvilicek, Emma Conrad, Hannah Downs, Kennaeya Fitzgerald, Eden Geis, Kyle Gragg, Bekah Heltzell, Elizabeth Hixon, Leta Hixon, Kevin Karatassos, Carly Klein, Peter Ko, Kenzie Kozar, Ethan Lipscomb, Jeremy Love, Kyra Martino, Haley McKinney, Jenna Miller, Evan Moeller, Victor Myrna, Alex Owen, Ashleigh Patterson, Liz Salgado, Kate Scanlan, Jackson Scherzer, Sean Scott, Harrison Silvester, Ryan Sims, Dean Smith, Jaya Subramaniam, Lizzie Sylves, Sydney Thompson, Olivia Tilton, Eliana Topf, Josie Walter, Renhan Xu and Haihan Xu. District 5 is made up of students from Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties. Over 220 students auditioned for a band of 125 musicians.  Instrumental instructors on the secondary campus include Robert Matchett, Varden Armstrong, Robert Babick and Sara Snyder.

Fox Chapel Students Place in Rotary Forensic Tournament 
Six Fox Chapel Area High School students were named winners in the inaugural Fox Chapel Area Rotary Invitational High School Speech and Debate Tournament. The Policy Debate teams of freshmen Dawson Krisky and Marie Romero won fourth place, and Sonny Hur and Prajval Sreenivas won sixth place. In Student Congress, sophomore Patrick Alexander won fourth place, and senior Adam Whysong won fifth place. The competition was held in January at Fox Chapel Area High School and nearly 200 students from 15 area public and private high schools participated in the tournament that was cosponsored by the Fox Chapel Area Rotary.

Seneca Valley Students Take Third at Mock Trial Tournament
Seneca Valley’s debut appearance at the University of Pittsburgh’s Mock Trial Tournament resulted in a third-place finish out of 49 schools from across the state. Team members include senior Lizzie Bittner and juniors Nick Folino, Anne Castagnero, Megan Bablak, Nick Hartman, Luke D’Ambrosio, Dawson Morrow, Ella Pologruto, Parker Logue, Kaitlyn Moore and Tori Read. The two-day tournament was held Jan. 4-5 and enabled students to present their trial case regarding cyberbullying. The students made up two teams, one representing the plaintiff side of the case, and the other the defense. The group will next compete at the Butler County Regional Competition Feb. 4-6. Seneca Valley’s Mock Trial teams are led by Ms. Nassan.

Fox Chapel Students Selected for PMEA District 1 Chorus
Thirteen Fox Chapel Area High School students were selected to perform with the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 1 Chorus.  The students chosen for the choir include seniors Alyssa Fabian, Christiana Paljug, Preston Rowe and Ella Tramontina; juniors Matthew Eschman, Catherine Heidenreich, Nathaniel Hines, Xavier Perry and Dylan Stein; and sophomores Julia DeMarco, Anna Ferris, Jack Lorence and Simeone Owens. The PMEA District 1 Chorus festival concert was held at South Fayette High School in January, with guest conductor Susan Medley, Ph.D., director of choral activities and professor of music from Washington & Jefferson College.

FASD Students Chosen for Allegheny Valley Honors Band
Several Fox Chapel Area School District students were selected by audition to perform with the 2020 Allegheny Valley senior and junior high honors bands.  More than 500 seventh-12th grade student musicians auditioned for the groups, and a total of 230 were selected. Fox Chapel Area students include seniors Roman DiSanti and Jacob Rendall; juniors Madelyn Francis, Arimar Gould, Nathaniel Kisslinger, Wyatt Krisky, Michael VanDemark, Joey Wang, and Matthew Zytnick; freshmen Zoe Broyles, Elijah Conklin, Sonny Hur, Lawrence Liu, George McDermott, Ethan Tan, and Lans Taylor; eighth graders Carolyn Caracciolo, Claire Heary, Elijah Herzer, Chloe Kim, Emma Kim, and Jack Lynch; and seventh graders Marina Dunham, Moonyoung Hwang, Alex Kim, and Varad Sant. The Allegheny Valley Honors Band Festival was held at Shaler Area High School Jan. 9 and 10. The conductors were Dr. Stephen Gage, director of bands & orchestra at Youngstown State University, and percussionist, composer and educator Chad Heiny.