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North Hills Monthly

New & Notable November 2020

Oct 29, 2020 08:18PM ● By North Hills Monthly Magazine
Seneca Valley Announces 2020 Homecoming Court
Seneca Valley’s Homecoming may not look the same as it has in year’s past, but that did not stop the senior class from choosing 20 of their peers to represent the 2020-21 SV Homecoming Court. Senior girls on the court include Megan Bablak, Lauren Bedell, Anne Castagnero, Jaden Davinsizer, Maddalyn Dimichele, Alyssa Dunning, Jordan Henne, Simren Jayaraman, Cecelia Restauri and Lauren Zaras. Senior boys on the court are Zaire Agrate, Antonio Amelio, Ethan Baer, Luke D’Ambrosio, Trevor Elliott, Aiden Kutchma, Parker Logue, William Scabilloni, Ethan West and Preston Zaras. Photo credit: EDI Imaging

Create Your Own Butterfly for Illuminating Hope Campaign
The Highmark Caring Place invites you to shine a light of hope in the darkness by participating in its Illuminating Hope Campaign. Visit to create your own virtual butterfly in memory of loved ones who have died, in honor of a child or adult who is grieving, and/or in support of grieving children, adults, and families everywhere. All butterflies that are created by Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 will be added to a virtual mosaic mural on the website to be unveiled on Children’s Grief Awareness Day on Nov. 19, 2020.

Students Win Medals In National Art Competition
Two Fox Chapel Area High School seniors were named national winners in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2020. Amara Ostroff received a Silver Medal for her mosaic art titled Lost in the Mass, and Annabella Zgurzynski won a Silver Medal for her enameling project titled, Overgrown Cottage. Hundreds of thousands of works of art and writing were submitted by students in grades 7-12 through regional contests and only the top one percent were recognized at the national level. Prior to being named national winners, Amara and Annabella were named Gold Key winners in the Pittsburgh Region of the Scholastic Art Awards of 2020. The students were under the instruction of art teacher Sarah Stewart.

Handmade Arcade Announces List of Makers for Virtual Marketplace
Since 2004, Handmade Arcade's highly-anticipated annual in-person winter convention has connected over 200 makers with more than 10,000 attendees every year, showcasing a curated marketplace of unique handmade goods along with opportunities to learn new skills in its hands-on activity area. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has pivoted to a new online model: Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace. Jurors reviewed hundreds of applications from Pittsburgh and beyond, handpicking over 130 top makers to ensure that all products in the market are well-made and represent a diverse range of handmade products. Beginning on Nov. 28 until Dec. 6, consumers will be able to shop the marketplace for high-quality handcrafted goods across 15 categories. See the complete list of makers for the 2020 Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace at

National Aviary Opens The Garden Room
The National Aviary recently celebrated the completion of The Garden Room, a new 9,000 sq. ft. event space that opens up to offer access to a beautiful patio and garden. Available year-round to host weddings, corporate events, and gatherings like birthday parties and showers, the facility also provides ample space for National Aviary education programs and events. Inside The Garden Room, two grand fireplaces bookend a spacious room that can accommodate up to 200 guests for a seated dining service, and construction also included new ADA-accessible restrooms and an industrial kitchen with walk-in refrigeration for Atria’s Specialty Catering, the exclusive caterer of the National Aviary.

Art in the Time of Covid-19
Members of the Cranberry Artists Network wanted to end 2020 on a positive note, so they are holding an exhibit from Nov. 10 to Dec. 17, 2020 at the Back Hall Gallery in the Cranberry Township Municipal Building, 2525 Rochester Road in Cranberry Township. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, and pottery created by CAN members will be available to view and purchase. There will be a virtual opening on Thurs., Nov. 12 from 6 -8 p.m., and prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place and honorable mention. The exhibit can be viewed in person during hours the Municipal Building is open. For more information, 

Hillman Performing Arts Series Announces 2021 Season
The Hillman Center for Performing Arts at Shady Side Academy has announced the lineup for its 2021 Hillman Performing Arts Series, which includes four shows from March through May 2021 featuring “The American Songster” Dom Flemons; The Honey Dewdrops; Sonia De Los Santos, and Robin Spielberg. While the Hillman Series season typically runs from fall through spring, this season all shows have been shifted to the spring in the hopes of being able to offer safe, family-friendly musical gatherings. All shows will be held on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per show and go on sale Monday, Nov. 16, online at or by phone at 412-968-3040.

SV Musicians Qualify for NAfME All-National Honor Ensemble
Seneca Valley Junior vocalist Alex Mortier (Tenor II) and senior instrumentalist Lizzie Sylves (Bassoon) qualified to participate in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-National Honor Ensembles. To be eligible for the national level, students were required to have participated in the state level festival in their home state during the previous school year. In addition, they had to submit an audition video to be considered.

Bruster’s Inaugural Feeding America® Fundraiser Raises $44,500 to Provide 890,000 Meals
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream partnered with Feeding America and its Hunger Action Month efforts to see how they could work together to make a big impact in local communities­­—resulting in Bruster’s Cones for a Cause event held Sept. 12, 2020. Together with customers and franchisees, Bruster’s raised $24,500 via the one-day event. For every fresh-made waffle cone sold, Bruster’s donated $1 to the cause. With the addition of a generous $20,000 corporate match, Bruster’s donated $44,500 to Feeding America in total, which will help provide 890,000 meals to communities nationwide.

Fox Chapel Coaches Named PIAA Coaches of the Year
Two Fox Chapel Area High School coaches were named PIAA Coaches of the Year for 2019-2020. Alex Slezak, girls’ head tennis coach in 2019, and Bryan Deal, boys’ head golf coach, both received the honor, having led their teams to win the PIAA championships in their respective sports last school year.

Almost 5,000 Students Participate in Virtual ChemFest
More than 4,800 students in grades 3–12 participated in ChemFest, a free virtual event on Oct. 22-23, hosted by Carnegie Science Center in partnership with the American Chemical Society. Science Center educators and community partners broadcast exciting chemistry demonstrations and career conversations directly into classrooms via Brightspace Learning Management System Software. Programming included an interview with a virologist from UPMC studying potential vaccines for COVID-19; live presentations from Carnegie Science Center educators exploring this year’s National Chemistry Week theme, “Sticking with Chemistry: Glues and Adhesives”; career connections interviews with staff from PPG, Pfizer, and the Society of Women Engineers, and DIY experiments using household ingredients led by chemists from local companies and universities. For more information, go to

Aquinas Academy Student Receives Grant for Pollinator Garden
Aquinas Academy student Liam Ellis recently received a $250 grant from the North Area Environmental Council (NAEC) for his pollinator garden at Aquinas Academy. The student-initiated project was created to establish an educational pollinator habitat on the school grounds and will be used as a tool to increase students’ scientific understanding of the importance of pollinators, the factors that are causing the decline of honeybees and other pollinators, and ways that individuals can help protect them. Phase I of the project was completed in summer 2020 and included extensive soil remediation and planting in an area approximately 7’ x 4’. The garden will double in size in 2021 to include additional plants.

La Roche University Board of Trustees Welcomes Two New Members
The La Roche University board of trustees recently welcomed Malesia Dunn and Jamie Gallagher to its board. Dunn is the executive director of PPG Foundation, Global Corporate Social Responsibility, where she guides the strategy and management of PPG’s global community engagement activities, including grantmaking and volunteer activities through the PPG Foundation and Global Giving Program. She also leads PPG’s COLORFUL COMMUNITIES™ program, the company’s signature initiative for supporting communities, which aims to protect and beautify the neighborhoods where the company operates around the world. For more than 35 years, Jamie Gallagher has been a leader in the creative products industries. He was a key sales and marketing team executive with LEGO for 16 years, and then continued the trend of working with high quality, privately held toy brands by serving as president of Playmobil USA. In 2003, Gallagher assumed his current role as president and CEO of Faber-Castell USA.

The Olive Branch Fair Trade Store Returns to Regular Hours
The Olive Branch Fair Trade Store at 11160 Perry Highway in Wexford is back to pre-COVID hours: Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Shop safely for fair trade gifts and holiday crafts made by volunteers; masks are also available for a donation to its mission/outreach ministry.

412 Food Rescue to Host Virtual Yinz Citizen Concert and Fundraiser
On Thursday, Nov. 12, local nonprofit 412 Food Rescue will stream Yinz Citizen, a virtual concert inspired by Lady Gaga’s April Global Citizen concert, to celebrate neighbors being there for neighbors. Featuring appearances by a wealth of Pittsburgh talent, including rapper Wiz Khalifa and punk-rock band Anti-Flag, the event will raise money for 412 Food Rescue’s work to combat hunger and food waste. Yinz Citizen will be hosted by Natalie Bencivenga and Day Bracey, with appearances by Sally Wiggin, the Musicians of the PSO, Wiz Khalifa, Joe Gruscheky, The Commonheart, Donnie Iris, DJ Bonics, The Boilermaker Jazz Band, Anti-Flag, the Homeless Gospel Choir, Byron Nash, Nathan Zoob, INEZ, Josh Jams, Chalk Dinosaur, Funky Fly Project, Liz Berlin, Cello Fury, Jordan Montgomery, Squonk Opera and many more. Register for the free event on

UPMC First in Pittsburgh to Offer Novel Drug Specifically for Postpartum Depression
In collaboration with UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital is the only hospital in the Pittsburgh region to offer Brexanolone, the first-ever U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug designed specifically for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD). Depression after having a baby can be common and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about one in seven women experience symptoms of PPD. While psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both, have been proven to be helpful in treating PPD for many women, the approved FDA medication is designed to help women who struggle to get their PPD symptoms to subside, despite trying a variety of therapies. The fast-acting drug is administered via IV over a 60-hour period, requiring patients to stay at the hospital for the duration.