New & Notable May 2021



Shaler Area’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition For Fourth Year

For the fourth year in a row, Shaler Area School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation. Now in its 22nd year, the designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. Shaler Area is one of 686 school districts in the nation and 218 districts in the state to be named among the Best Communities for Music Education.



Cynthia Kenyon Wins Dickson Prize in Medicine

Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D., a molecular biologist whose research has redefined the understanding of aging, has accepted the 2021 Dickson Prize in Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s highest honor. The prize is awarded annually to an American biomedical researcher who has made significant, progressive contributions to medicine. The award consists of a specially commissioned medal, a $50,000 honorarium and an invitation to present the Dickson Prize Lecture on campus.



New Primary Care Physician Joins BHS

Andrew Hall, DO, joined Butler Health System Primary Care in April and will be seeing patients at 131 East Cunningham Street, Butler, PA 16001. He completed his pre-med studies at Clemson University in Clemson, SC and received his medical degree from the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City, MO. He then completed an osteopathic internship and an internal medicine residency at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Hall is board-certified in Internal Medicine and provides outpatient primary care services.


Schlafhauser Crowned Miss PA Preteen

Lola Schlafhauser, a Gibsonia native and Pine Richland fifth-grader, was crowned Miss Pennsylvania Preteen in March after competing in an interview process, community service project, on stage introduction, and formalwear. Lola scored very well and received high praise from all of the judges, but most markedly, won overall highest scoring on stage introduction for the entire pageant. Lola’s platform includes The Mary Claire Foundation, helping local food banks, animal shelters and retirement communities.



Four Shaler Area students Selected for All-State Ensembles

Four Shaler Area High School seniors were recognized by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) as some of the top instrumentalists in the state by being selected for its All-State ensembles. Adam Braughler, Jenna Facer, and Luke Franks were accepted into the All-State Concert Band and Zachary Spondike was accepted into the All-State Jazz Ensemble. The students each went through a rigorous audition process to be considered for the All-State audition process. The 2021 All-State Ensembles were held virtually on April 14-17, 2021.



Three Seneca Valley Students Named 2021 Recognized Carson Scholars

Seneca Valley Senior Faith Condrick and juniors Kate Lipscomb and Nicholas Nedzesky have been announced as 2021 Recognized Carson Scholars. These three standout students maintained high academic standards and a strong commitment to their communities and renewed their Carson Scholar status for their efforts. This year, the Carson Scholars Fund awarded their 10,000th scholarship, marking an incredible 25 years of honoring high academic achievers across the nation.


Brody Porter is Awarded Volunteer Service Award

Brody Porter has been awarded a Prudential Spirit of Community President's Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to their communities and their country. Brody is the son of Mandi and Richard Porter of West Leechburg and attends St. Margaret Mary parish in Lower Burrell, PA.


FCAHS Student Wins Medals in National Art Competition

Fox Chapel Area High School senior Jessica Jing McCann was named a national winner in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2021. Jing won a gold medal for her jewelry titled Wings of Deception, and a gold medal and a prestigious American Visions Medal for her jewelry titled Anxiety’s Flight. Jing’s jewelry (wearable art) is designed to communicate how stress and anxiety impacts her and others and how it takes a toll on her mental and physical health. Her artwork is meant to serve as statement pieces. Prior to being named a national winner, Jing was named a Gold Key winner in the Pittsburgh Region of the Scholastic Art Awards 2021. At Fox Chapel Area High School, Jing is under the instruction of art teachers Sarah Stewart and Sarah Patrick.



District Named One of Best Communities for Music Education

The Fox Chapel Area School District has been named among the 2021 Best Communities for Music Education for the 10th year in a row. Fox Chapel Area is one of 109 in the state of Pennsylvania and one of 686 school districts in the nation chosen for this honor that recognizes outstanding commitment to music education. The districts were selected through a program sponsored by the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation which recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education and who help ensure access to music for all students.



Shaler Area senior selected for All-State Chorus

Shaler Area High School senior Zoe Babbit has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) as one of the top vocalists in the state by being selected for its All-State Chorus. Zoe represented Shaler Area and the state as part of the All-State Chorus, which performed virtually during the 2021 PMEA All-State Conference April 14-17, 2021. Zoe had the opportunity to work with renowned conductor, Dr. Joy Meade from Messiah University, who led the all-state chorus.



SV Students Place in SACP Essay Contest

Seneca Valley Senior High School juniors Sydney Thompson and Nicholas Nedzesky were both recently awarded an Honorable Mention in the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP) High School Essay Contest. Thirteen students were awarded prizes, and the recognition included a $100 prize. This is the same contest that AP Chemistry Teacher Kelly Weston won while a junior in high school, bringing it full circle when the same essay contest recognized two of her current students.


Students Win Awards At Regional PJAS

Several Fox Chapel Area High School and Dorseyville Middle School students recently won awards as part of the virtual 87th Annual Region 7 Meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS). Fox Chapel Area first-place winners were seniors Jackson Romero and Sanjay Seshan; juniors Zoe Lakkis and Siddharth Yende; sophomores Lawrence Liu and Arvind Seshan; freshmen Lakshanya Rajaganapathi and Adhitya Thirumala; and eighth-graders Anna Delale-O’Connor, Etash Jhanji, and Rohit Velankar. The first-place winners qualified for the state PJAS competition which will be held virtually in May. Second-place awards went to junior Janise Kim, sophomore Alina Stiger, and eighth-grader Alex Kim. Additionally, some of the Fox Chapel Area students also won special honors in addition to their place awards.



Phipps Conservatory’s Center for Sustainable Landscapes Wins Prestigious Award

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) recently achieved the 2021 BREEAM Award in the Commercial—In-Use category. The CSL achieved this prestigious award over projects from four other countries, proving through performance and impact that it is one of the greenest buildings in the world. The BREEAM Awards, delivered by BRE Group, is an annual celebration that proudly recognizes the people, projects and organizations that are leading the way with significant achievements in sustainable building design, development and management.


12 Food Rescue Volunteers Complete 100,000 Rescues

412 Food Rescue is celebrating a new milestone: as of this month, staff and volunteers have completed 100,000 food rescues all-time. The nonprofit organization, which is powered by its proprietary Food Rescue Hero technology platform, engages thousands of local volunteer drivers to rescue surplus food from retail stores and restaurants and bring it to a site where people experiencing food insecurity can access it. To date, volunteer Food Rescue Heroes have rescued more than 17 million pounds of food that would otherwise have been sent to a landfill, the equivalent of 14.2 million meals. For the past year, 412 Food Rescue’s network has redistributed an average of 730,000 pounds one million pounds of food every single month.


New Adult Behavioral Health Unit Opens on Heritage Valley Health System Campus

A new Adult Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) was opened in April on Heritage Valley Health System’s Kennedy Township hospital campus. The newly constructed 24-bed BHU focuses on the treatment and care of individuals, ages 18 and older, with behavioral health disorders. The unit complements the existing geriatric behavioral health unit at Heritage Valley Kennedy. Additionally, three new intake rooms were added to the emergency department at the Kennedy Township hospital, for those arriving with specific behavioral health needs. With this new unit opening, the behavioral health unit at Heritage Valley's Sewickley campus will close and current staff will transition to the new unit.


Noteworthy Music Opens Second Location

Noteworthy Music, Inc. recently opened a second location in Franklin Park at 2611 Nicholson Road, Sewickley, PA 15143 on the Herbert Campus. The facility has been open since early March for private lessons. Services provided include band and orchestra instrument rentals and repairs; private lessons for those instruments as well as piano, voice and guitar; and sales of band and orchestra instruments and accessories, guitars, drums, and more. Noteworthy Music will also continue to serve the community from its Valencia location at 1410 Pittsburgh Rd Valencia, PA 16059. www.noteworthymusicpa.com


FCASD Students Win Awards At Science & Engineering Fair, Two Qualify for International Fair

Ten Fox Chapel Area School District students recently won awards at the virtual Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair (PRSEF) and two students qualified for an international science and engineering fair. Fox Chapel Junior Zoe Lakkis and sophomore Arvind Seshan were named two of seven overall winners and qualified to participate in the virtual Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF) – the Olympics of student science competitions. Additionally, Arvind won first-place in the senior division computer science/math category; sponsor awards from FedEx Ground and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); and an associate scientist perseverance award. Zoe also won the second-place award in the senior division computer science/math category, a Princeton Alumni Association of WPA sponsor award, and an honorary scientist perseverance award.

Freshmen Lakshanya Rajaganapathi was named the first-place winner in the senior division medicine/health/microbiology category. Junior Siddharth Yende won second-place in the senior division physics and astronomy category and an affiliated sponsor award from the U.S. Metric Association. Junior Janise Kim was named a fourth-place winner in the senior division computer science/math category, won a sponsor award from the Society of Women Engineers, and received an honorary scientist perseverance award. Senior Sanjay Seshan received sponsor awards from Carnegie Mellon University – Leonard Gelfand Center, Eaton, and the Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association; an affiliated sponsor award from the Office of Naval Research, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.; and an honorary scientist perseverance award. Freshman Adhitya Thirumala received a junior scientist perseverance award. Dorseyville Middle School award winners were eighth-grader Etash Jhanji who won first place in the intermediate division medicine/health/microbiology category, as well as a Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh sponsor award; eighth-grader Alex Kim who won FedEx Ground and Society of American Military Engineers—Pittsburgh Post sponsor awards; and sixth-grader Param Thawani who won Eaton and FedEx Ground sponsor awards. Additionally, as a place-winner, Etash was also nominated for the national Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) program.



Shaler Area renames walking trail and Extra Mile Award for Reserve Primary teacher

Kim Baysek-Young, a beloved third-grade teacher at Reserve Primary School, passed away early in the 2020-21 school year, and recent board action ensures her memory will live on within Shaler Area School District. The Shaler Area school board approved the request to honor Mrs. Baysek-Young by renaming the walking trail on the Reserve Primary School campus. Superintendent Sean Aiken also formally announced that the district’s Extra Mile Award, which recognizes district employees who have gone above and beyond for their students or school community, will be renamed the Kim Baysek-Young Extra Mile Award.


Shaler Area Students Take Top Awards in Japanese Speech Contest

Shaler Area High School students took top awards in the annual High School Japanese Speech Contest held through the University of Pittsburgh. The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Center hosts the Japanese Speech Contest each year for Japanese learners of all levels. Junior Margaret Rea, who competed at the Advanced Level, received the top award and was named the grand prize winner. Additionally, seniors Zoe Babbit, Jamie Eichmiller, and Abby Sawa tied for first place in the Advanced Plus Level. In the Advanced Level, Shaler Area junior Mai Swendsen also placed second, and junior Riley Pegher placed third. At the Intermediate Level, sophomore Isabella Drischler placed third. Students are required to memorize a speech in Japanese on the chosen topic for the speech contest.



Two Shaler Area High School students recognized in Regional Science Fair

Shaler Area High School juniors Caty Clark and Rebecca Schiavone were recently recognized for their research in the annual Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Caty Clark presented her experiment on pea plants entitled "The Effect of Soil pH on Plants in Low Water Conditions." Her work was acknowledged during the virtual awards ceremony with a scholarship to Carlow University. Rebecca Schiavone investigated environmentally sound practices for cleaning up oil spills in an experiment titled "The Effectiveness of Sorbents in Marine Oil Spills." Her project received two sponsor awards that come with a financial prize: The Range Resources - Appalachia, LLC award and the Association of Women Geoscientists award. Both students were sponsored by GATE teacher Christina Palladino and mentored by GATE teachers Kathleen Elder and Dave DiPasquale.



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