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New & Notable December 2021

Shady Side Academy Names Jim Rohr Jr. ‘92 Next CFOO

Shady Side Academy has announced the appointment of James E. “Jim” Rohr Jr. ‘92 as its next chief financial and operations officer (CFOO), effective Jan. 3, 2022. As the Academy's principal finance, business and operations officer, Rohr will be responsible for budgeting, accounting, long-term financial planning, treasury management, investments, and asset and liability management. In addition to leading SSA's Business Office, he will oversee human resources, facilities, campus safety, summer and auxiliary programs, and food service. Rohr has dedicated the better part of his career to a series of executive leadership roles at Giant Eagle. Most recently, he served as vice president for pricing and merchandising analytics. Rohr holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. In addition to being an alumnus, Rohr is also a former Shady Side trustee and a current parent.

Seneca Valley Senior Earns Perfect Scores

College admission exams like the SAT and ACT bring a lot of pressure for students to achieve a “good” score, but a perfect score on both exams is much harder to achieve. Seneca Valley Senior Liam Volk-Klos recently received notification that he scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT while simultaneously earning a perfect composite score of 36 on the ACT. It is estimated that out of the 2 million students who take the SAT every year, only about 500 earn the highest score. Volk-Klos also achieved a perfect ACT score; less than 1 percent of students earn such a double honor. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2020, only 5,579 out of 1.67 million students who took the ACT earned a top composite score of 36.

BHS Receives $60,000 Check from Riding for the Cure

The Riding for the Cure Group recently presented a check to Ken DeFurio, president & CEO of Butler Health System, in the amount of $60,080.25 to assist cancer patients in Butler County. Since 2012, the group has raised $376,500 overall and has donated more than $281,000 to the BHS Foundation. These funds assist cancer patients with their co-pays, medications, utility bills, and other every day needs. In addition, patients receive hair wigs, halos and accessories.

Butler Memorial Nationally Recognized with an ‘A’ Safety Grade

Butler Memorial Hospital received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for fall 2021. This national distinction recognizes Butler Memorial Hospital’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and error in the hospital. The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns rankings of A-F to general hospitals across the country based on over 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.

Seneca Valley Band ‘Beats The Drum’ For Cancer Awareness

Seneca Valley Band members recently held their annual campaign called SV Band Gives Back. Their designated charity this year was Cancer Bridges in support of SV’s very own Athletic Director Heather Lewis. By the end of the week, they raised over $2,100, surpassing their goal. At a game in October, the band, along with SV Cheerleaders and the student section, also showed their support by donning pink T-Shirts and ribbons. To learn more about Cancer Bridges, visit

Wygonik Semifinalist in National Merit Scholarship Program

Saint Joseph High School senior Samuel Wygonik is a semifinalist in the 67th National Merit Scholarship Program and has an opportunity to continue in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship competition. Wygonik will vie for one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered this spring. Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attend finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Christmas Tours for Youngsters at Old Economy Village

Old Economy Village, located in Ambridge, will be hosting Christmastime for Children Tours starting Nov. 30 through Dec. 22. These tours are designed for preschool through third grade. The first hour consists of five tour stops in the village, and the last half hour is a party with Belsnickel (the German helper of St. Nicholas who is the keeper of the naughty and nice books). For additional information or to make a reservation, contact Museum Educator, David Miller, at or 724-266-4500 ext.110.

Gus & Yiayia’s Ice Ball Cart Joins Miniature Railroad & Village® at Carnegie Science Center

Pittsburghers have made it a tradition to visit the Miniature Railroad & Village® every holiday season to see the new model that is unveiled. This year’s model is beloved throughout Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania: Gus & Yiayia’s ice ball cart. It debuted on the grand re-opening day of the Miniature Railroad & Village, Thurs., Nov. 18. The family business was stablished in 1934 by Gus’ father, who purchased the first cart from an Amish woodworker, and taken over by Gus in 1951.

New Hire, Promotion at KDKA

Audacy welcomes Dave LaBrozzi as Brand Manager of KDKA News Radio (KDKA-AM/100.1 FM) in Pittsburgh and elevates Kraig Riley to the same role for sister station 93.7 The Fan (KDKA-FM). Both LaBrozzi and Riley will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for each station. LaBrozzi has nearly four decades of experience in radio, most recently as Vice President of Programming for WABC Radio in New York City. Riley has been with the station since its inception in February 2010 and has been the afternoon drive producer since August 2010. He has also hosted the station’s Pirates pre and postgame shows from 2018 through 2021.

Butler Memorial Nationally Recognized with an ‘A’ Safety Grade Butler Memorial Hospital received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for fall 2021. This national distinction recognizes Butler Memorial Hospital’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and error in the hospital. The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns rankings of A-F to general hospitals across the country based on over 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.

EduNations to Hold Eighth Annual Benefit Concert

EduNations’ eighth annual benefit concert will be held Dec. 3, 2021 at 7 p.m. featuring singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken. The concert will be held in the Memorial Park Church Sanctuary and is free of charge. A goodwill offering is encouraged, and all proceeds will go to EduNations for the benefit of students in Sierra Leone. Founded in 2004, EduNations is a nonprofit organization devoted to building schools and a future for the forgotten children across the continent of Africa, beginning in Sierra Leone. To reserve tickets, visit

Mattress Factory Open Call for Artists

The Mattress Factory is holding its first International Open Call for artist residencies and solo exhibitions. Continuing its commitment to centering artist voices and decentering institutional voice, the review of submissions and selection of artists will be done by artists who have previously exhibited at the Mattress Factory. During their residency, artists are free to explore wherever their process leads them. The Mattress Factory will support each artist’s process from development through production and installation to exhibition. Solo exhibitions resulting from residencies will be scheduled from Spring 2023 on. Submissions close December 10, 2021 at 4:59 p.m. EST. To learn more, visit

Kick Off the Holidays at HEARTH's Annual Purses With A Purpose Fundraiser

HEARTH's last signature event of the year, Purses with a Purpose, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 5 from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the LeMont Restaurant. Presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network for the third year in a row, this year's silent auction and brunch feature a variety of charming purse-themed items only available to attendees. All proceeds directly support the families of HEARTH on their journey to recovery and wellness. Tables sales start at $500 for 10 guests. Individual tickets can be purchased for $65. More event details can be found at

Report Shows Economic Benefit of Butler Memorial Hospital to Region

Butler Memorial Hospital contributed $260,545,172 to the region’s economy and supported 1,529 local jobs during the 2020 fiscal year, according to a new report released by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). Statewide, Pennsylvania hospitals fueled $155 billion in economic activity, about 20 percent of the commonwealth’s total gross domestic product. The hospital community also supported more than 615,000 jobs, one in nine statewide, and generated more than $38 billion in wages, salaries, and benefits. In addition, the state’s hospitals attracted highly competitive federal research dollars to the Keystone State, played a crucial role in training tomorrow’s healers, and provided extensive charity and unreimbursed care to their communities.

Improv Troupe to Perform It’s a Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Life

Pittsburgh Public Theater and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust have come together to present a hilarious, happy holiday revue this season – It’s a Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Life from The Second City. The improvisational comedy enterprise and theater troupe based in Chicago has presented training programs and live theater for more than 60 years. This year’s holiday production comes to Pittsburgh for six performances only and is directed by Jen Ellison with stage management by Katie Hildreth and musical direction by Ryan Miera. Cast includes Andy Bolduc, Julia Morales, Rich Alfonso, Jenelle Cheyne, and Tim Metzler.

Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 412-316-1600.

Zuppa’s Delicatessen acquires Loafers Bread Company

Zuppa’s Deli, a popular destination for Italian food with locations in Wexford and Cranberry Township, has officially acquired local bakery chain Loafers Bread Company, expanding its offerings to loyal customers across the region. Zuppa’s Deli owners, Robert Stackhouse Jr., Rich Harshman and Michael Kyle will lead the two companies as an equal partnership. Loafers’ locations in Cranberry, Wexford and Fox Chapel will retain the same name, managed by Stackhouse and the Zuppa’s Deli team. Stackhouse, Harshman and Kyle founded Zuppa’s Deli in 2010, opening their first location in Wexford. Even after all their store openings over the years, they’ve still maintained a small business, family-first philosophy in everything they do, from their food to store atmosphere and interactions with customers.

Lavender Terrace to Premiere at New Hazlett Theater

On Dec. 2-3, director and playwright NaTasha Thompson will premiere her original work Lavender Terrace, live onstage at New Hazlett Theater as part of the 2021/22 season of its Community Supported Art Performance Series. This new multimedia production explores Marita Boner’s play The Purple Flower, published in 1928. Lavender Terrace tells the story of marginalized and oppressed people fighting for the right to have life at its fullest over the last eighty years in America. The production progresses through time, beginning in the late twenties and landing in an obscured but familiar representation of the present day. For tickets, visit

Dr. Harry Clark Honored with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 2021 JazzLive Legacy Award

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust recently announced the recipient of its 2021 JazzLive Legacy Award—Dr. Harry Clark, a distinguished administrator of 30 years for Pittsburgh Public Schools and supporter of arts programs in schools. The award was established by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in 2018 to acknowledge a regional jazz artist for their incredible contribution to this music genre in Pittsburgh and beyond. Dr. Clark retired from Pittsburgh Public Schools after 30 years of service, including serving as the founding principal of Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA)—the first public arts high school in Western Pennsylvania. Through this work, he influenced hundreds of musicians who now have their own careers and contribute to Pittsburgh’s reputation as a city where jazz thrives.

Students Place In Erie Forensic Tournament

Four Fox Chapel Area High School students recently placed at the annual M and M Lake Erie Invitational Tournament. The team of senior Ian Mackey-Piccolo and sophomore Adhitya Thirumala won second place in Policy Debate. Additionally, fifth-place winners were junior Caleb Hahl in Impromptu Speaking and freshman Swati Mylarappa in Student Congress.

Pittsburgh Opera Announces $5 Million Gift from Francois Bitz

Pittsburgh Opera announces the largest individual gift in the company’s 83-year history—a $5 million gift from Pittsburgh Opera Board Member, tech entrepreneur, and real estate developer Francois Bitz. The co-founder of FORE Systems Inc, is currently building the Penn 23 condo project in the Strip District, across the street from Pittsburgh Opera’s Headquarters. In recognition and deep appreciation, the Pittsburgh Opera is naming its Strip District headquarters the Bitz Opera Factory. Bitz’s gift is part of Pittsburgh Opera’s $50MM Comprehensive Campaign, which has already raised $23.4 million of its $50 million goal.

FCAHS Students Place at Two Speech and Debate Tournaments

Five Fox Chapel Area High School students recently competed and placed at two speech and debate tournaments. Three Fox Chapel Area High School students placed at the annual Upper St. Clair Novice Speech and Debate Tournament, including freshman Swati Mylarappa who won second place in Student Congress. Additionally, the Public Forum Debate team of sophomore Joshua Brown and freshman Moonyoung Hwang was awarded fifth place. The Policy Debate team of senior Ian Mackey-Piccolo and sophomore Adhitya Thirumala advanced to the quarterfinal round and finished in the top eight at the Meadows Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament.

Seneca Valley Choral Students Earn Top Placement In PMEA Honors Chorus

Twenty-one outstanding Seneca Valley singers recently qualified for the 2021 Pennsylvania Music Education Association (PMEA) Honor Choir. They include Ayla Alexander, Connor Benson, Rylie Butler, Peter DePasquale, Grace Fawcett, Kevin George, Sky Harvin, Elizabeth Hixon, Leta Hixon, Trey Hixon, Graham Logue, Colton Marley, Anya Maschmeier, Alex Mortier, Eli Peel, Greta Schmidt, Jonah Smeltzer, Rachel Summers, Madeleine Tomo, Dorothy Vogel and Caroline Zulick.

Shady Side Academy Partners With AHN to Bring The Chill Project to SSA A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, stress and anxiety levels have risen to concerning levels for teens and adults alike. In order to better support the mental health and well-being of its school community, Shady Side Academy partnered with Allegheny Health Network (AHN) to bring The Chill Project to SSA, a mindfulness-based wellness program for schools that serves the needs of students, faculty, staff and parents. The Chill Project features dedicated professionals, a calming space and mindfulness instruction to help community members reduce and manage stress, strengthen resiliency, and improve mental health in order to achieve a healthier life balance. The components of The Chill Project include a Chill Room on campus; mindfulness instruction provided by a full-time, school-based wellness educator, Larissa Evans; and on-site therapy provided by a full-time, school-based counselor, Megan Tierney. Tierney and Evans work in collaboration with school counselors Creighton Runnette and Dr. Claudia Henry to support the mental health of the school community.

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