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SIEMPRE ADELANTE Serra Catholic High School Alumni Newsletter Also for the graduates of St. Peter High School, Divine Redeemer Academy and Mon Yough High School SPRING 2013 Volume 18, Issue 1

Serra dedicates the Highmark “Faithfully Fit” Fitness Trail & Greenhouse Project! INSIDE THIS ISSUE:



Student News


Serra goes to Europe!


Sister Anita Tribute


Winter Sports Recap


Mark your calendar!


Class Notes


Some highlights... Read about student news from this school year! Learn more about how you can support your alma mater. Start to think about planning your class reunion. Save the date for this year’s Distinguished Alumni Dinner! Check out what some of your fellow Serra alumni have been up to...

The afternoon of April 22, 2013, was bright and sunny at Serra Catholic High School—the perfect day for an outdoor ribbon cutting ceremony! Members of the Serra Interact Club, Science Honor Society, White Oak Rotary and representatives from the Highmark Foundation gathered at Serra for this special event to officially dedicate a project which has now come to life. In 2010, Serra Catholic was presented with a $50,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation. After receiving this wonderful gift, an elaborate project plan was put into place to use the funds to improve the health and fitness of our community. Many steps were taken in order to increase awareness among our students about healthy living practices. The Serra Interact Club worked with the White Oak Rotary to install the Fitness Trail machines and the Science Honor Society was very involved with getting the greenhouse project underway. There are currently three mini-greenhouses outside of the friary which the students have used as a learning tool for growing fresh herbs and vegetables. We even chose Earth Day for this event to give it some added meaning! Through these wonderful additions of the fitness trail and greenhouses, our hope is that Serra will continue to be a healthy community for years to come! *Pictured to the left: Bob Petty of the White Oak Rotary and Dr. Christina Wilds of the Highmark Foundation officially cut the ribbon with our students!

*Photos courtesy of Jennifer Vertullo—The Daily News*

SIEMPRE ADELANTE Published Semi-Annually By the Development Office Contact Us! Serra Catholic High School 200 Hershey Drive McKeesport, PA 15132 Phone: (412) 751-2020 Email:

From the President Dear Friends, There is something magical about the end of the school year in a high school. Our annual traditions spark excitement for the future and nostalgic memories of the many years and the multitude of friends who have flown the Eagles’ Nest. Promenade, Prom, Baccalaureate Mass, and Graduation—all are milestones in the lives of our Serra men and women. The faculty and staff who relive those events year after year shake their heads and say to each other, “Where has the time gone?” The frantic push to complete the last chapter, administer the last exam, or grade the last paper creates a frenzied atmosphere in late May. But by mid-June, those of us who remain through the summer walk the very hot, empty halls, overseeing the work that must be done each summer to spruce up, renovate, and prepare for the next year. The cycle of life in a high school is never ending, always exciting, and keeps us (we pray) forever young!

Every so often, though, sadness befalls our beautiful campus. This year it was the passing of our dear friend, teacher, and coworker—Sister Anita Miller. We will forever miss Sister’s perky personality, steadfast determination, and eternal spirit and optimism. She had an iron will that saw her through many personal trials and tribulations. But she always “pulled herself up by her bootstraps” and soldiered on! She will always be an inspiration to us and an Angel watching over us. May God bless Sister Anita.

Editor Jennifer Salvador '00 Development Director Contributing Editor: Sandra Barbieri

As you read your newsletter, I hope you feel a renewed sense of pride in your alma mater. Jennifer Salvador, Development Director, has done a wonderful job painting a picture of life at Serra. But it doesn’t stop here. Logon to Serra’s website and to your alumni website to learn more. Our students continue to win accolades, scholarships, and recognition as some of the finest young men and women in the Mon Valley area. Let us know how you are—send us your stories and your pictures. We will never forget you, and we love hearing from you!

Development Coordinator You will always be a member of our family. You can always come “home!” We hope you will. May God bless you, Diane DiNardi, President

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Dr. Ron Ogrodnik

Most Rev. David A. Zubik, DD

Mr. Gary Antonella

Mrs. Maureen Vissat

Very Rev. Ronald P. Lengwin, VG, MDiv

Dr. Ron Bowes

Robert L. Paserba, Ed. D.

Mrs. Jennifer Cairns, Esq.

Spiritual Advisor:

Dr. Ralph P. DiCicco

Fr. Stephen Chervenak


Mrs. Diane DiNardi

Executive Committee:

Mr. Charles Gala

Dr. James Campagna, Chair

Fr. Joseph Grosko

Mr. Matthew Franckiewicz, Esq., Vice Chair

Mrs. Rita Joyce, Esq.

Mrs. Wendy Staso, Secretary

Mr. Jeffrey Kelly

Mrs. Dawn Sauter, Treasurer

Mrs. Patricia McGrail, Esq.



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On November 15, 2012, Junior Achievement (JA) of Western PA hosted their 25th Annual Spirit of Enterprise Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. This year, JA students from Serra Catholic High School were asked to participate in this special event. This dinner honors those who have made outstanding contributions to business, social and cultural assets of the region. Each of the five honorees who were honored this year met with a JA High School student several weeks before the event for a one-on-one interview. The students used the information gathered in their interview to write an introduction for their honoree, which they read on stage at the dinner. This had a tremendous impact on our students –in the end, they were able to create a special bond with their honoree and will forever have this relationship with an influential business leader in Pittsburgh. Congratulations to Bobby Kish '13, Shannon Kolenik '15 and Clayton Lyons '14 for participating in this year’s dinner!

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Bobby Kish with Honoree David Caliguiri

Shannon Kolenik with Honoree Matt Pitzarella

Clayton Lyons with Honoree Louis Testoni

Bishop David Zubik Scholarships Awarded to Eight Serra Students!

We are please to announce that eight Junior Achievement students from Serra were each chosen to receive a Bishop David Zubik Scholarship! A total of 10 scholarships were awarded to 9th-11th grade students in Western PA who are currently attending a Catholic High School within the Diocese Altoona, Johnstown, Erie, Greensburg or Pittsburgh and who have participated in at least one volunteer-led JA classroom program during the 2012-2013 school year. The Bishop David Zubik Scholarships are each worth $1,000. From left to right: Jeffrey Rask, Zachery Shomo, Elizabeth Holmes, Erin Almeter, Kassandra Hill, Michael Hudak, Clayton Lyons and Anna Mandak

A Scholarship Reception was held on May 30, 2013, at the LeMont Restaurant for our students and their families to celebrate this accomplishment!

Congratulations to our Junior Achievement students on a job well done!

March for Life On January 25, 2013, forty-three Serra Catholic High School representatives attended the Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Individuals from across the country gathered to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion in the case of Roe versus Wade. Since the inception of this law’s passage forty years ago, fifty-five million babies have been aborted. In an effort to peacefully protest this law, Serra students joined the thousands of other Americans in walking and praying. The students in the ProLife Club continue to promote life at all stages through meetings, discussions and prayers throughout the school year.

Pictured above are the Serra students who attended the March for Life

Serra Wins $1,000 from Erie Insurance!

From the left: District Manager Bill Richardson, agent Kevin Laskowski and Sara Leonatti ‘07 with the SSG

On January 30, 2013, the Serra Catholic High School Student Government (SSG) accepted a $1,000 check from Erie Insurance. Sara Leonatti, '07 worked with the students to participate in the SHIFT Driver Safety Program. The students earned points by signing the safe-driving pledge, creating videos and sharing what they learned with their peers. Serra will use these funds to spread a safe-driving message to the community.

Nicolle Thiry, Class of 2013 Congratulations to Nicolle Thiry, '13, who has been signed to the Ole Miss rifle team for the 2013-2014 school year! Thiry competes in the Pittsburgh Suburban rifle league and began shooting competitively two years ago. She is a member of the National Honor Society and plans to major in Business.

GOOD LUCK, Nicolle!

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Stock Market Challenge Students in Mr. Raible’s economics class made great use of their Google Chromebooks this school year as they competed against one another in a stock market challenge! Students were separated into four teams and invested a fictitious $10,000 into five stocks of their choice. Each team had to research their stocks throughout the semester, follow growth trends and present a summary of their stocks’ performance to the rest of the class. They also had to assess factors that contributed to the increase or decrease of each stock’s price for the duration of the project. The team whose stocks earned the most money will be recognized at the senior awards breakfast at the end of this school year!

Stein & Ogrodnik Scholarship Recipients 2012-2013 School Year Congratulations to Samantha Andrekanic '16 for receiving the Arnold & Jean Stein Scholarship this year. This tuition assistance gift is in honor of the late Arnold & Jean Stein who were active members of the Serra community. We would also like to congratulate Jake Eged '16 and Brianna Hill '14 for being this year’s recipients of the Walter & Stefina Ogrodnik Scholarship. Ronald Ogrodnik, PhD, '68 has made a commitment to Serra Catholic by creating this scholarship to honor his parents. His mother Stefina, a widow, faithfully sent her boys to Serra Catholic High School. For more information regarding the scholarships that are available at Serra, please visit the “Admissions” tab on the school website:

Serra Students heading to Anaheim this summer! Congratulations to Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competitors Wei Mon Lu, Marlena Darr, and Lauren Stroh! Wei Mon placed first in the state in Electronic Career Portfolio and will be competing in the national FBLA competition in Anaheim, California in June. Marlena and Lauren placed second in the state in Desktop Publishing and will also compete at the national competition in Anaheim!

Good luck, Wei Mon, Marlena, and Lauren!

On May 14, 2013, Mrs. Kathy Sigg received the Outstanding Math Teacher Award from the CMU Chapter of Sigma Xi. The organization chose Mrs. Sigg from a large pool of candidates because they were particularly impressed with Mrs. Sigg’s leadership regarding hands-on scientific investigation and its application to the real world.

Thank you for your dedication Mrs. Sigg, left, accepts her award!

to our students, Mrs. Sigg!!

The Bridge Educational Foundation serves as a “bridge” to helping many schools receive funds from the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC). They partner with many local companies in order to assure that families all over Pennsylvania have the opportunity to choose where their children will attend school. Many schools in the Mon-Yough area and across Pittsburgh were beneficiaries of the EITC program through gifts that were given by the Bridge Foundation. In presentations around the Greater Pittsburgh area this year, companies were recognized for their work with Bridge in serving an area with more 10,000 families in 59 counties. On April 4, 2013, U.S. Steel made a $60,000 check presentation at an event hosted by Serra Catholic High School. Legislative representatives, local school leaders and students from Serra participated in this special presentation. U.S. Steel has been a frequent contributor to the EITC Program and this money will support students at Serra and 13 other Allegheny institutions.

THANK YOU Bridge Educational Foundation & U.S. Steel!!

REACH Rally in Harrisburg, PA By: Mrs. Jennifer Salvador ‘00 On May 7, 2013, the REACH Foundation celebrated the 12th Birthday of the EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) Program in Harrisburg, PA. I had the pleasure of bringing a group of four students from Serra Catholic to this event where we gathered at the Capitol Building with other families, students and legislators to support this extremely crucial program for schools across the state. The event opened with Serra students leading the Pledge of Allegiance and then various state representatives spoke about the importance of school choice with the help of EITC program funds.

Jazmine Kennedy '15, Katie Mortimer '14 Natalie Condrac '14 & Jordan Reyna '14 at the Capitol

As an added bonus, our very own Natalie Condrac, '14, won the contest for the best t-shirt design for the Rally! Everyone at the event wore these shirts and Natalie was presented with a $500 check for Serra that will go toward tuition assistance. Natalie’s Mom, Cathy Condrac, also traveled to Harrisburg with us for this birthday celebration. It was a wonderful day in our state capital and I was very proud of our students.

Congratulations, Natalie! Natalie received a check for winning the contest!

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Serra Goes to Europe!

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This March, eighteen students and five adults traveled to Europe for the learning experience of a lifetime. The trip was led by Mrs. Karen Kolenik, Social Studies Teacher and Mr. Bob Childs, Assistant Principal. The group traveled to four countries and visited the cities of London, Paris, Lucerne and Munich! In London, England, students visited the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Students also rode the “Underground” transportation system and ate fish and chips. Some headed to the Warner Brothers Studio tour of the Making of Harry Potter and others went on a Jack the Ripper walking tour. After riding the Eurostar train underneath the English Channel, the students arrived in Paris, France. The group visited the Louvre, rode to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and toured the Palace of Versailles. Everyone was able to attend mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. Students also enjoyed riding the Metro and treated themselves to crepes and crème brulee. Leaving Paris, the students traveled by bus to Lucerne, Switzerland, where they were welcomed by a family who runs the Hotel Frohsinn. The atmosphere at the hotel was wonderful—everyone enjoyed traditional family meals and wake-up calls which consisted of the banging of pots in the hallways. Students toured Lucerne and enjoyed the Alps scenery as they rode two cable cars to the top of Mt. Pilatus. The shopping included Swiss watches and chocolate! The bus then left for Munich, Germany, with a quick coffee break in Liechtenstein. The students toured the Neuschweinstein Castle and went sled riding in the Alps! A city tour of Munich was next to the famous Marienplatz center to watch the Glockenspiel. Students enjoyed bratwurst, while a few ordered chicken nuggets. The last day took the group on a bus tour of Munich as well as to the Dachau Concentration Camp, where students learned about World War II. There was also a stop at the BMW museum. Students were able to sit in many different types of cars. When asked about their favorite things on tour, Pat Crossen, said, “I liked the Jack the Ripper tour and walking through Lucerne, Switzerland.” Liz Holmes commented, “I absolutely loved seeing the Eiffel Tower, especially at night. Going up to the top was also exciting. The London Eye was another highlight of my trip, seeing Big Ben from up high and seeing all of London was beautiful.”

The next Serra tour will visit Ireland and England in June, 2014!

A Tribute to Sister Anita Marie Miller August 21, 1937—April 4, 2013 By: Jennifer Salvador, ‘00 On April 4, 2013, we lost a very dear member of the Serra Catholic Family, Sister Anita Marie Miller. When I attended Serra from 1996-2000, Sister was my chemistry teacher. She was filled with more energy than I will ever have in my lifetime! Her class was very challenging, although I know that some of my friends who went into a science related field will forever be touched by her passion and knowledge. Serra was Sister’s home and she built many relationships with the faculty and staff through the years. The students were so important to her and she led by example with her constant passion for Christ. The Development Office is in the Friary and often times I would run into her zipping around making sure that lights were off, doors were shut and everything was in its place. I miss her voice, her stories, her scaring me in the morning by just appearing in my office doorway…. SO ANYWAY, I thought a great way to honor Sister would be for our students, staff, faculty and alumni to share some memories. Thank you to everyone who contributed! I was not able to include them all—but these will certainly remind you all of our dear friend.

Rest in Peace, Sister Anita. Your spirit will live forever at Serra!!! “I'll never forget when I walked past the trophy case and was shocked to see Sister Anita inside, holding a bottle of cleaner and wiping the glass! She was one of the most hard working individuals that I ever met, never satisfied to let time or energy go to waste, or to be idle.”

“No day was dull with Sister! She was a great lady and will be missed.” -Shaun Elkowitz, '01 My favorite phrase of hers was ‘SIRRR!! -Claire Halemba, '14

“After every study hall, no matter how bad we may have been, Sister Anita always ended the period with ‘God bless you all and have a wonderful day!’ It was a sentence that could pick me up no matter how stressful my day was.” “My favorite memory of Sister Anita was created one night after parent conferences were finished. As usual, I was late leaving. The school hallway lights had been shut off and all was dark except for my classroom light. I turned it off and headed into the dark stairwell. As I took my first step down, a bright light from a flashlight came on as if I had stepped on the switch. I looked over the railing to discover Sister Anita sitting on the bottom step holding the flashlight. She illuminated the stairwell and said good night as I exited the building. Thank you, Sister Anita, for turning the light on for me.” -Mrs. Kathy Sigg, Faculty

“Few people know that Sr. Anita did a portion of her degree work in the Ivy League, specifically, at Brown University in Providence, RI” -Mr. S, Faculty

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“Everyday in the cafeteria Sister Anita would only allow 3 people per half of the table. If we had any more than that she would make us move. Anytime I see more than 3 people at a table, I hear her voice.”

“Sister Anita constantly made sure that she did whatever she could to help Serra run smoothly. I often saw Sister while she was shutting off lights at the end of the day. She always had a minute to stop and chat before running off to shut off more lights. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to know her!” “Sister showed us how much dignity there is in giving one's life completely to God. She was the kindhearted enforcer that made Serra into the loving family that it is today. I can't imagine walking into the building and not seeing her rescheduling classes, signing passes, and preventing the cafe from falling into total chaos. There's no Serra without you, Sister. We love you.” -Tori Fedora, '12

“I once told her I was jealous that she decorated the administrators offices for Christmas...and upon returning to the library, I found it packed with decorations! I will cherish my image of her & her genuine contentment with life.” –Mrs. Wendy Seibert, Faculty Memorial contributions in the name of Sr. Anita may be made to: Serra Catholic High School Student Scholarship Fund, 200 Hershey Drive, McKeesport, PA 15132


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From the Eagle Bench

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Winter 2012-2013 Sports Highlights

The Girls Basketball Team finished with a 24-4 record and played in the WPIAL Championship game at the AJ Palumbo Center. The girls also qualified for the PIAA tournament. CONGRATULATIONS, LADY EAGLES!

The Boys Basketball Team finished the season with a 13-9 record and qualified for the WPIAL playoffs. Nice job, boys!

The Bowling Team ended their season on March 15th at the State Championships in Ephrata, PA. The girls finished 2nd in the Southeast Section. Great season, bowling team!

The Hockey Team finished with a 12-11 record and participated in the WPIHL playoffs.

Our Swim Team had a great season! Senior Anita Onufer advanced to the PIAA swimming championships at Bucknell University.

Congratulations to all of our teams!!

How can your company help support Serra? As mentioned in previous issues of Siempre Adelante, the EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) and OSTC (Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit) programs are vital to so many families in the area. Many kids would love to attend Serra and receive a quality education, but their parents or guardians are unable to afford the total cost. Your company has the ability to send their tax dollars to Serra and alleviate some of this burden. Visit the website below and learn more about both programs as well as the newly revised online application process. EITC & OSTC WEBSITE: For more information, please contact: Jennifer Salvador '00 (412) 751-2020 x132

What are Matching Gifts? Does your company offer a matching gifts program? If so, you may be able to give a “double donation� to Serra... A matching gift, also known as a matching fund or matching donation is a charitable gift made toward a non-profit organization by a matching donor (YOUR COMPANY) under the provision that an original donor (YOU) first makes a gift toward that organization (SERRA). If there is such a program that is offered at your workplace, you may want to look into this as a means of giving back to Serra. Contact the Development Office if you have questions on how this works and we will be happy to assist you! THANK YOU to those who have already taken the time to research this process within your own company. Your generosity means so much to the future of Serra!

Visit the Grand Reunion website by clicking on our QR code!

Keep us posted with personal news and achievements Stay in touch with former classmates Update your contact information Page 10


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Serra Catholic High School Annual Fund 2012-2013 If you have not yet made your gift to this year’s Annual Fund Drive, please consider doing so by June 30, 2013. Your contribution will help the students of Serra reach their full potential—in the classroom and beyond! We understand that some of you may be budgeting differently in today’s economy, but even a small donation will make a difference in the lives of our students. A donation envelope is enclosed or you may conveniently make a donation online by visiting our Grand Reunion website. ( If you have already made your annual fund donation, we thank you! The support that we continue to receive is a blessing and for that we are truly grateful. Our Fall 2013 issue of Siempre Adelante will feature our “Honor Roll of Donors” report and our Class Challenge winner! Our gift levels are listed below.

Leadership Circle

Ruby Circle

$25,000 and above

$1,000 to $2,499

President’s Circle

Gold Circle

$20,000 and above

$500 to $999

Principal’s Circle

Silver Circle

$10,000 and above

$250 to $499

Junipero Circle

Eagle’s Nest

$5,000 to $9,999

$100 to $249

Friars Circle

Friends of Serra

$2,500 to $4,999

$99 and under

Together we can make an impact on the future of Serra!

2008 PIAA Boys Basketball Championship Reunion On Saturday, March 30, 2013, a five-year reunion of the 2008 PIAA Boys Basketball Championship Team took place at Luciano’s in White Oak. Former Head Coach, Bob Rozanski, members of the team, family and friends gathered to reminisce on this victorious season. Check out some photos from the reunion—this victory will live forever in the history of Serra Basketball!

Serra Graduate Stars in “Children of Eden” at the Byham! This past March, McKeesport native Nathan Sudie '07 played the roles of both Adam and Noah in the musical “Children of Eden” which was performed at the Byham Theater in downtown Pittsburgh over the course of four days. This play is based on two stories from the Book of Genesis in Bible—beginning with the Creation and working its way to Noah and the flood. The performance of “Children of Eden” was a collaboration between the Pittsburgh Musical Theater and Robert Morris University. It was Sudie’s first leading role in a Pittsburgh Musical Theater mainstage production. Right now, Nathan works as a Group Sales Manager at Sandcastle Waterpark and is set to graduate this May from Robert Morris University with a BA in Communication and a concentration in theatre. Nathan plans to continue performing professionally in the city of Pittsburgh.

Nathan '07 as Noah in ‘Children of Eden’

This Christmas will be the 10th year that Nathan has helped to assemble the crèche in the main lobby of the school with Mr. Luft—it has become a Serra tradition and we hope that it continues for years to come!

Best wishes to you, Nathan!

Nathan with his co-star Emily Lynne Miller (as Adam and Eve)

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Serra Catholic Welcomes Mr. Victor H. Pribanic: 2013 Commencement Speaker We are thrilled to announce that Mr. Victor Pribanic, Class of 1972, will address this year’s graduating class at St. Paul’s Cathedral on May 30, 2013. Victor was featured in our Fall 2012 Newsletter in our “Alumni Spotlight.” He is the founding member of Pribanic & Pribanic LLC, a Pittsburgh based regional trial practice firm. You will find a complete story about his speech in our next Issue of Siempre Adelante.

Welcome back to Serra, Victor!

Serra Alum Named Fred Rogers Scholar at Saint Vincent College Saint Vincent College named Julianne Bartko '12, of Elizabeth Township a Fred Rogers Scholar at the second annual induction ceremony at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College on October 23, 2012. Julianne will receive a renewable $2,500 scholarship and have the opportunity to network with scholars and industry leaders in early learning and children’s media. The Scholars Program, designed for students interested in pursuing careers involving children, early learning and media for Julianne ‘12 (second from the left) with her young children, will introduce Julianne to the Fred Rogers fellow Fred Rogers Scholar winners at SVC Archive and its research capabilities. It will also encourage participation in regional and national internships, work on service-learning projects, develop a senior research project and have the opportunity to travel to local and national centers of research and media outlets.

Congratulations, Julianne!!

SAVE THE DATE! Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner September 21, 2013 Westin Convention Center Please join us for this year’s celebration at the Westin Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh! If you know of anyone that you would like to nominate to receive this award in September, please visit the Grand Reunion website home page. More details to follow in the coming months...

We look forward to seeing you there!

CLASS REUNION PLANNING! If you have started planning your reunion and would like to spread the word, let us know! We would be happy to put information on the Grand Reunion website. Not planning anything yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! The following classes could be celebrating these milestones…. Class of 1973: 40 Year Class of 1983: 30 Year Class of 1993: 20 Year Class of 1998: 25 Year Class of 2003: 10 Year Contact the Development Office if you would like a class contact list!

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Taking a Leap of Faith!

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Stephanie Skinner, a Serra class of 2000 graduate, is a great example of what it takes to chase your dream! After graduating from Serra, Stephanie pursued a career in mental health, receiving a B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College, followed by an M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University. During the last decade, Stephanie has spent many hours working various jobs as a mental health therapist and enjoyed her time doing this type of work. However, with each passing day, she could not shake her inner desire to create! Having always been passionate about the arts, Stephanie found fulfillment in long walks with a camera. Over the past year, she took the leap from creative hobbyist to professional photographer. In addition to providing lifestyle portraits and event documentation, she has also contributed writing and photography to publications both locally and internationally. Stephanie will continue to cultivate her passion for photography in the hopes that she can eventually use it toward humanitarian causes. She is primarily based out of San Diego, CA, but is available for assignments worldwide. Check out her website and follow her on Facebook! Website: Facebook:

We wish Stephanie the best on her photography journey! 2013 DAY OF GIVING This summer, we will announce the date for this year’s Day of Giving sponsored by Pittsburgh Gives! The 2012 Day of Giving was a big success for Serra Catholic—our total amount raised in one day was $37,692.28!!! Stay tuned for more information….

You now have the opportunity to advertise in an upcoming issue of Siempre Adelante! We mail our newsletter to 5,000+ alumni and friends of Serra all around the country. Your business message could reach a vast network of people. Start spreading the word and consider placing an ad in our Fall 2013 issue! *For more information and pricing, please contact Jennifer in the Development Office* (412) 751-2020 x132

CLASS NOTES 1969 James Volk spent 35 years in retail management as a General Manager or District Manager for companies such as Bon Ton Stores, JCPenney’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. He has lived all over the United States including California, Ohio, Illinois, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Jim is now enjoying his life in Ocean City, MD, where he sells real estate. In addition, Jim is the author of a blog about growing up in Duquesne, PA. Visit his blog titled “The Duquesne Hunky” today!

1986 Patrick Connelly has been a practicing trial attorney for the past 18 years with an emphasis on civil litigation. After graduating from Serra, he went on to receive his bachelors degree in Economics from Boston College, located in Chestnut Hill Massachusetts. He then received his law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law. Patrick now resides in Pittsburgh, PA, and recently decided to run for Judge for the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. We wish Patrick the best with his campaign and future endeavors!

1986 Bernadette (Ksiazek) Geyer’s first full-length collection of poetry, The Scabbard of Her Throat, was published by The Word Works in early 2013. Her poems have recently appeared in Poet Lore, Arkansas Review, and elsewhere. She works as a copy editor and freelance writer in the Washington, DC, area, but her family will move to Berlin, Germany, in August 2013. Visit Bernadette’s website:

1990 Melanie (Kurutz) Sittler, CEO of Just Math, served as a distinguished speaker at a career development forum at The University of Pittsburgh, Alumni Hall Ballroom, on October 27, 2012. The forum was co-hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Chinese Students and Scholars’ Association (Pitt-CSSA), University Center for International Studies (UCIS) and University of Pittsburgh International Alumni Association. Sittler, along with many other professionals, led symposium talks and interactive panel discussions for an audience of post baccalaureate students, scholars and professionals. Page 16 SIEMPRE ADELANTE

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Serra Catholic 90’s Yearbooks Have you taken a look at yours lately?

1995 Ramon “Tony” Rivera and Jessica (Lynch) Rivera were married on April 21, 2012, at the Hyehold in Coraopolis, PA. Jessica and Tony met in second grade at St. Joseph Regional Catholic School and began dating in 7th grade. After graduating from Serra, they did not re-connect for 17 years! Tony is currently working as a mental health counselor and is studying for his M.S.W. at the University of Southern California. Jessica graduated from Duquesne University last summer with her masters in Speech Language Pathology and is currently working for a private practice.

1995 Reverend Robert Fleckenstein is currently assigned as Parochial Vicar to the Saint Teresa of Avila Parish, Perrysville, and Chaplain to North Catholic High School. He also has worked on a blog titled “Can you drink the cup?” which reflects on his wanderings and wonderings along the road as a priest of Jesus Christ. The blog link can be found below:

1996 Brian Ferko married Jenna Wood on July 21, 2012. The couple’s ceremony was held at St. Ursula Catholic Church in Allison Park, PA. The couple currently resides in Las Vegas, NV. Brian earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Arts Degree in education from Chatham College. He is a science teacher at the Coral Academy of Science.

1998 Kristen (Ferko) Hampton married Steven Hampton on November 24, 2012, at Epiphany Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, PA. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is working on her Master of Business Administration at Carlow College. Currently, Kristen is employed by Cura Hospitality and works as the general manager for food services at Indiana Regional Medical Center.

2002 John Schafer II is engaged to Dana Batory and they are planning a July 2013 wedding. John is from West Mifflin, but both he and Dana reside in Chicago. After graduating from Serra, John earned two Bachelor’s Degrees (accounting and finance) from the University of Dayton. He is a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young.

2002 & 2004 Misty Lynn '02 & William Pieffer '04 celebrated their engagement on December 31, 2012. The couple is planning a November 2013 Wedding.

2006 Sharissa (Sherwin) Shatten was married on June 24, 2012, to Uri Shatten at Heinz Memorial Chapel with a reception at Summerset at Frick Park. Sharissa’s Maid of Honor was fellow Serra class of 2006 graduate Rachel Buffo. On December 15, 2012, Sharissa graduated with a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh. She was then hired as a Developmental Specialist at Family Resources of PA.

Congratulations and best wishes to all of our alumni on these many successful happenings in their life! Page 18


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Share your news with the Serra community! To be included in our “Class Notes” section of the newsletter, visit the “Keep Us Posted!” tab on the Grand Reunion website. We will then be sure to include your news with fellow Serra Alumni in an upcoming issue of Siempre Adelante! Engagements Weddings New Arrivals Personal & Career Achievements

Don’t forget to send photos, too! All images can be sent to:

Corrections to our Fall 2012 Newsletter We apologize that the following alumni were not included in our Annual Fund Report for 2011-2012. Thank you both for your generosity and continued support of Serra! $1,000 to $2,499 Edward Bartko '68 Matthew Madonna '65

Our next issue of Siempre Adelante will include: Highlights from our 2013 Juniper’s Journey Auction Class of 2013 Commencement Photos Annual Fund Report & Class Challenge Winner More good news about our students and alumni!

If you have an idea for an upcoming newsletter story, please contact the Development Office! We would love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful summer!

SERRA CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL 200 Hershey Drive McKeesport, PA 15132 Phone: (412) 751-2020 Fax: (412) 751-3488 E-mail:

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Always Forward

STAY CONNECTED TO SERRA!! Find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We will regularly post news and share information about upcoming alumni events. Your feedback is encouraged and welcome!

Twitter: @SerraCatholic Facebook: “Serra Development” LinkedIn: Serra Catholic Alumni Group

Spring 2013 Siempre Adelante  

The is the spring issue of the Serra Catholic High School Alumni Newsletter