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New & Notable, April 2021

CCAC Student Named Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar

Community College of Allegheny County student Melinda McCloskey of Wexford has been named a 2021 Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholar and will receive a $1,000 scholarship. McCloskey is enrolled in CCAC and IUP’s Collaborative program for Business Management with a focus on Marketing and a minor in Sustainability. McCloskey is president of the Student Government Association (SGA) at Allegheny Campus, and Officer of Service for PTK’s Alpha Mu Theta Chapter, where she assisted the chapter in working with CCAC administration and the community to raise $3,500 for the Allegheny Campus Cupboard, which will sustain the food pantry for more than a year.

Student Named Semifinalist in Coca-Cola Scholarship Program

Fox Chapel Area High School senior Vivian Shao was selected as a semifinalist for the 2021 class of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. She is one of 1,609 high school seniors from across the nation (and one of 73 from Pennsylvania) to be chosen as a semifinalist from more than 99,000 applicants. Students are selected based on their academic excellence, leadership, and service demonstrated in school and community activities.

SSA Eighth Grader Wins National Medal in Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Mark Henne of Fox Chapel, an eighth-grader at Shady Side Academy Middle School, is one of only 10 students from the Pittsburgh area to win a national medal in the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition. Henne won a national Silver Medal in writing for his Personal Essay & Memoir piece, A Pot of Forgiveness. As a national medalist, his award-winning work will be featured in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2021 online gallery.

Sophia Kunkel Awarded Gold Key in Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Sophia Kunkel was recently awarded a Gold Key in the 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for the Northeast Writing Region-at-Large. She won in the novel writing category for the prologue and first chapter of her book Starless Skies and Broken Dreams. Kunkel is an editor for the Seneca Scout, a member of Library Club, and a cofounder of the Teen’s Writing Club at the Cranberry Public Library. To read the prologue and first chapter of her book, visit Additionally, Seneca Valley Junior Julia Lingenfelter was awarded two honorable mentions for her personal essay and memoir The Apple Tree and for her poetry titled Julia.

SV Student Accepted into FBI Pittsburgh Teen Academy

Meera Rathod was recently accepted into the 2021 FBI Pittsburgh Teen Academy, where she will gain a better understanding of the FBI, highlighting the various positions and career paths that work together to help the agency in its mission to uphold the U.S. Constitution. She will be offered insight into a number of topics and specialties, including the importance of making good choices online; understanding which federal law violations the FBI investigates; requirements of all FBI applicants, and the FBI’s domestic and international roles. She will also have the opportunity for various hands-on experiences involving specialized areas of the FBI, such as their Evidence Response Team.

Shady Side Academy Names Bayh Sullivan Next Director of Enrollment

Shady Side Academy has appointed Bayh Sullivan as its next director of enrollment, effective July 1, 2021. Sullivan will succeed Katie Mihm ‘83, who will retire in June after 22 highly successful years leading admissions and enrollment at the Academy. Currently the director of enrollment management at The Ellis School in Pittsburgh, Sullivan leads Ellis’ recruitment, retention and financial aid efforts. Born and raised in Pittsburgh and an alumna of Ellis and Bryn Mawr College, Sullivan has been an ATHENA Young Professional Awards nominee and a member of both the Riverlife Young Professionals Board and The Ellis School Alumni Board of Visitors. She recently completed a Coro: Women in Leadership Fellowship.

Shady Side Academy Names Sean Simmons Next Director of Athletics

Shady Side Academy has appointed Sean Simmons as its next director of athletics, effective this summer. Simmons will succeed Gene Deal, who will conclude his highly successful 31-year run as AD this summer to assume a new role at SSA as alumni engagement officer. Simmons is currently director of athletics for the Pine-Richland School District, where he oversees one of western Pennsylvania’s outstanding athletic programs. Born in Trinidad, Simmons earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance at Seton Hall University, and a Master of Science degree in athletic administration from James Madison University.

Dance Department at La Roche University Welcomes Rikkai Scott as Guest Artist

The La Roche University Dance Department, in partnership with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, will be welcoming Artistic Director Rikkai Scott of BDblaq as its 2021 guest artist this April. Scott is known for his signature style of dance theater combining tap, hip-hop and contemporary elements of humor. Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts from the London Contemporary Dance School.

Eight SV Seniors Named Finalists in National Merit Scholarship Program

Seneca Valley Seniors David Choi, Zachary Garcia, Simren Jayaraman, Parker Logue, Ananya Rao, Avani Salunkhe, Anoop Savio, and Dora White have been named finalists in the 66th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program held by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).These seniors are eight of approximately 15,000 finalists and will now advance to the next level of the program where they will have the opportunity to earn a National Merit Scholarship and, ultimately, the Merit Scholar® title.

Heritage Valley Health System Announces Cameos of Caring Awardees

Heritage Valley Health System recently announced the Health System’s 2020 Cameos of Caring Awardees: Darby Hupp, RN, Cardiopulmonary Unit, Heritage Valley Beaver; Rich Pongratz, RN, Emergency Department, Heritage Valley Kennedy; and Sara Manfredi, RN, Progressive Care Unit, Heritage Valley Sewickley. The Cameos of Caring Award honors exceptional bedside nurses who work in acute care hospitals.

Seneca Valley Students Bring Home Scholastic Art Awards

Claire Reynolds, a Seneca Valley senior, was recently named a Gold Key winner in the 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Pittsburgh Arts Region Competition. She won for her piece titled Calm through Chaos. Seneca Valley Silver Key recipients include seniors Connor Campbell, Tess Enders, Jocelyn McNany and Emilee Neuman. Several students from Seneca Valley also received Honorable Mentions including seniors Isabella Bardelli, Kierstin Beahm, Gabriella Donatucci (two Honorable Mentions), Lacey Eisengart, Faith Milcic, Tia Myers (three Honorable Mentions), Chase Nething, Mackenna O’Mara, Anna Sikora (two Honorable Mentions) and Brian Whitney. Junior Julia Lingenfelter received two Honorable Mentions and sophomore Arden Kiely received one Honorable Mention.

Seneca Valley Decathlon Team Takes Home 12 Medals

With a score of 32,631, and a 3,000-point lead, the Seneca Valley Academic Decathlon team placed first and took home 12 medals at the recent Western Pennsylvania Regional Academic Decathlon Competition. SV medalists include seniors Allison Flatt, who won an overall gold and medaled in the categories of art, economics, literature, music, science and social science; Mia Chevallier, who won an overall silver and medaled in essay, art, economics, music, science and social science; and Ash Eury, who medaled in art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science and social science. Juniors included Shanker Pillai, who won an overall gold and medaled in the categories of essay, economics, literature, mathematics, science and social science; Nicholas Nedzesky, who won an overall silver and medaled in essay, art, literature, music, science and social science; Kason Kunkelmann, who medaled in essay, economics, mathematics, science and social science; and Rayan Ghaffar, who medaled in mathematics. Sophomore Nancy Chen also medaled in the categories of literature and science. Seneca Valley’s Academic Decathlon Regional team includes Nancy Chen, Mia Chevallier, Ash Eury, Allison Flatt, Rayan Ghaffar, Grace Johnson, Kason Kunkelmann, Nicholas Nedzesky and Shanker Pillai.

Seneca Valley Choir and Band Students Participate in Virtual NAfME

Seneca Valley Choir seniors Ethan Bannon, Nicholas Folino, and juniors Alex Mortier and Jonah Smeltzer, in addition to Seneca Valley Band senior Lizzie Sylves, were accepted to participate in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-East Honors Ensemble March 4-6. Mrs. Bannon, Folino, Mortier and Smeltzer will be representing the SV Choral department as a part of the All-East Mixed Chorus. Miss Sylves will be representing the SV Band department as a wind player in All-East Orchestra. Students will individually record their performance from home led by a virtual performance of their conductor, and the concert will premiere at 8:30 p.m. on April 23.

Five SV Seniors Selected as Candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Seneca Valley Senior High School had five students selected as candidates for the United States Presidential Scholars Program. Seniors David Choi, Faith Condrick, Zachary Garcia, Kathleen Monahan and Avani Salunkhe were invited to apply for a chance to be named a United States Presidential Scholar.

La Roche Board of Trustees Elects Two New Members

The Board of Trustees at La Roche University recently welcomed Cynthia B. Piccirilli, MD, and Anthony F. (Tony) Rocco to serve on its board. Dr. Piccirilli is a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, former head of neurosurgery at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and an inaugural member of La Roche University’s Distinguished Alumni Circle. Tony Rocco is president of WesBanco Bank-Western PA Market and is responsible for the administration and business development activities of the western Pennsylvania market. They began their terms in March.

La Roche University to Expand Mental Health Services

La Roche University will partner with the JED Foundation, a nationally recognized nonprofit, to improve campus mental health resources. A signature program of The JED Foundation, JED Campus offers schools with customized support to help build upon existing student mental health, substance use and suicide prevention efforts. La Roche’s four-year partnership with the organization will focus on enhancing and expanding mental health services to the whole campus community. Students can receive counseling free of charge from two full-time therapists on staff, and the university also plans to connect students with a local psychiatrist on campus at no cost.

La Roche University to Fully Reopen in Fall 2021

La Roche University recently announced that campus operations and face-to-face instruction will resume at full capacity for the fall 2021 semester on Aug. 23, 2021. The university will follow a regular fall semester schedule that will incorporate Labor Day, Fall and Thanksgiving breaks. In-person classes will be augmented by a wide range of online courses. In addition, nearly all classrooms have hybrid technology to support remote learners. For more information, visit

Students Place at Deer Lakes Forensic Tournament

Two Fox Chapel Area High School students recently placed at the virtual Deer Lakes Invitational Forensic Tournament. Freshman Isabella White won second place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and received her first bid to qualify for the Pennsylvania High School Speech League State Championships, and sophomore Silas Owens won sixth place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

FCAHS Students Place in State-Qualifying Forensic Tournament

Six Fox Chapel Area High School students recently placed in the Pennsylvania High School Speech League’s (PHSSL) District 2 state championship-qualifying virtual tournament. The Policy Debate team of senior Jackson Romero and junior Ian Mackey-Piccolo placed first; freshman Lilly Friedman won first place in Informative Speaking; freshman Isabella White was awarded second place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate; and freshman Seoyoon “Heidi” Lee won second place in Poetry. Additionally, junior Patrick Alexander qualified for the state championships by accumulating three bids based on his performances at local tournaments throughout the regular season.

Fox Chapel Students Qualify for National Forensic Tournament

Seven Fox Chapel Area High School students recently qualified for the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Championship Tournament. The qualifiers are seniors Suparna Agrawal and Hannah Jahnke in Duo Interpretation of Literature, senior Jackson Romero and junior Ian Mackey-Piccolo in Policy Debate, junior Patrick Alexander in Student Congress, freshman Lilly Friedman in Original Oratory, and freshman Seoyoon “Heidi” Lee in Oral Interpretation of Literature. All seven of these students have advanced to represent the Pittsburgh Diocese at the Grand National Championship Tournament to be held virtually Memorial Day weekend. Additionally, freshman Isabella White will serve as an alternate in Lincoln Douglas Debate for the national tournament.

Fox Chapel Area Students to be Inducted into National Technical Honor Society

Five Fox Chapel Area High School and A.W. Beattie Career Center students will be inducted into the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) this year. They are senior Emma Bernesser (Veterinary Sciences Technology) and juniors Meghan DeLuca (Health and Nursing Sciences), Justin Friday (Health and Nursing Sciences), Amelia Herzer (Health and Nursing Sciences), and Jenna Rubican (Advertising Design). The students will be honored as part of a drive-through ceremony and also via a special video produced by A.W. Beattie.

Families Of Flight 93 Contribute To Support Friends Of Flight 93

The Families of Flight 93 contributed more than $175,000 to the Friends of Flight 93 in December 2020 to establish a fund in support of Flight 93 National Memorial, the third 9/11 attack site. Since 2009, family members of the Flight 93 passenger and crew members have served on the Friends’ board of directors; the Friends currently have three family members serving as directors including Emily Schenkel, Jody Greene, and Col. Christopher Whelan.

CCAC Announces 2021 NISOD Excellence Award Recipients

The Community College of Allegheny County has announced its recipients of the annual National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards. CCAC’s 2021 honorees include educators from each campus—Allegheny Campus: Assistant Professor Corinne Bauman (Mathematics), Professor Elizabeth Throesch (English), Professor Mary Beth Johnson (Court Reporting); Boyce Campus: Professor Waseem Ahmed (Biology), Professor Stephen Bannister (Physical Therapy); North Campus: Professor Srujana Kanjula (Sociology), Professor Robert Koch (Automotive Engineering); South Campus: Professor Scott Cornish (Art), Professor Nancy Grant (Computer & Information Technology), Professor Patricia Paul (Nursing). NISOD’s Excellence Awards recognize exceptional faculty members each year who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues. For more information, visit

Butler Memorial Nationally Recognized as a Best Maternity Care Hospital by Newsweek

Butler Memorial Hospital was named to Newsweek’s 2021 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals. The distinction recognizes facilities that have provided exceptional care to mothers, newborns and their families, as verified by the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Hospitals named as a Best Maternity Care Hospital have fully met The Leapfrog Group’s rigorous standards for maternity care excellence, including achieving lower rates of C-Sections (NTSV), early elective delivery, and episiotomy, as well as assuring bilirubin screening for all newborns and blood clot prevention techniques for mothers delivering via C-section. Butler Memorial Hospital was one of fewer than 225 to receive the prestigious accolade.

Landowners Partner With Nonprofit To Permanently Protect Their Land

Local land conservation nonprofit Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) and an Indiana Township-area family recently placed a permanent conservation easement on 69 acres of the family’s land. Landowners John and Elizabeth Beeson fulfilled their dream of protecting their land with a conservation easement; they still own the land but have more protections in perpetuity against development, oil and gas extraction, giant electrical towers, and more. Bisected by Rawlins Run, the land hosts renovated farmhouse, barn, workshop, and grasslands, and woodlands which are now forever protected by the conservation easement. ALT has protected more than 2,700 acres of green space in Allegheny County since 1993.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream Highlights Sweet Rewards Success with National Newsweek Honor

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream launched its mobile Sweet Rewards loyalty program in February 2018. Since then, it’s undergone several iterations and customers are showing their appreciation. In February, Bruster’s was chosen as one of only three Catering, Restaurants and Leisure: Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt brands recognized by Newsweek as part of its Americas Best Loyalty Programs award. On the heels of that news, Bruster’s also announced the completion of new franchise agreements in expansion markets including Indianapolis, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois and Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Aquinas Academy Student Wins School Geo Bee

Seventh-grade Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh student Mark Bence won the school Geo Bee in January. He was one of 10 finalists in a strong field that included both last year’s champion, Michael Greppi, and last year’s runner-up, Sam Ennis, along with three additional students who had qualified as finalists in previous years. Sixth-grader Brigid Mercer secured the runner-up award this year, and following students were finalists: Mark Bence (7th grade), Elizabeth Bird (4th grade), Sam Ennis (5th grade), Anna Ravotti (4th grade), Laura Greppi (8th grade), Michael Greppi (6th grade), Felicity Koble (7th grade), Peter Koble (5th grade), Brigid Mercer (6th grade), and Alice Rothfus (8th grade).

Beyond Spots & Dots Recognized as AVA Digital Awards Winner

Beyond Spots & Dots, a full-service advertising agency, recently announced that it received a prestigious Gold Award from the 2021 AVA Digital Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design and production of media that is part of the evolution of digital communication. The agency was honored for its digital creativity, branding and strategy for web-based production and social media work for transforming a client’s Facebook news feed, increasing brand consistency and more closely adhering to best practices in design, copywriting and content creation.

Thousands Receive COVID-19 Vaccine As Heritage Valley Continues Community Vaccination Efforts

Saturdays have been busy on the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) campus as Heritage Valley Health System completed two large COVID-19 vaccination events, administering more than 3,000 vaccines to Phase 1A individuals on March 6 and 13. These large volume COVID-19 vaccination clinics represent just part of Heritage Valley’s community vaccination effort as weekday clinics are held in Robinson Township at the former Heritage Valley location next to Staples, as well as the CCBC Dome. Through these efforts, Heritage Valley has administered 33,414 doses of vaccine with more than 12,400 individuals fully vaccinated (receiving the two required doses).