Canevin students among Medallion Ball recipients
Two seniors at Bishop Canevin High School were among 134 young women to receive St. Joan of Arc medallions for volunteering a minimum of 150 hours with local organizations.
The event was part of St. Lucy's Auxiliary to the Blind's 54th Medallion Ball, held in November at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. Bishop David Zubik presented recipients with the medallions.
This annual event originally began under the patronage of Bishop John Wright to benefit what is now the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh.
Emily Brosky of Carnegie started collecting her hours the summer before her freshmen year, volunteering at the Scott Township Public Library to shelve materials and assist with the weekly children's reading program. Her mother sponsored her for the award's consideration.
The preparation for the ball was quite involved, beginning with getting a white dress, shoes and long gloves.
Professional photos were taken by Ron Richards Photography.
A practice was conducted two weeks prior where they learned the agenda for the evening and how to waltz. The morning of the ball was another practice. They were told to arrive two hours early.
“There is a lot of waiting around,” Brosky said. “The presentation is nervously anticipated as we have to walk out individually on stage, receive our Joan of Arc medal, curtsy in front of Bishop Zubik, walk across the ballroom floor onto a platform, curtsy twice more, and finally leave the room.”
She then danced with her escort Harrison Klein, a friend from Bishop Canevin who graduated the year before, and then dinner was served. “The father-daughter dance was a special moment for my dad and me. I did the ball for my grandma who wanted my sister Katie and me to be in the ball ever since we were young. Unfortunately she passed away before she could see me participate, but I hope I made her proud. The whole evening was one of the most rewarding and magical nights of my life.”
Besides volunteering at the library, Brosky has been a member of the Bishop Canevin Marching Band, science club, Spanish club, academic team, St. Ignatius Scholars, National Honors Society, art club, Crusaders for Justice, bowling team, Humane Society, and the tech/stage crew for the spring musical. She plans to major in Cinema Production at perhaps Point Park University or New York University.
Canonsburg resident Schanelle-Marie Saldanha also started on her service hours prior to becoming a freshman at Bishop Canevin. She volunteered primarily at the Peters Township Meals on Wheels, helping to cook, prepare, package and deliver meals to the housebound, and the Frank Sarris Public Library, shelving books and assisting with the children's activities.
Sponsored by family friend Amy Beryerl of Upper St. Clair and escorted by fellow Bishop Canevin senior Danny Bigley, Saldanha said the ball was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
“It was incredible to see all the girls in their beautiful white gowns and, more importantly, to know how many service hours we were all able to accumulate for the community,” she said. “Never in the 54 years of the ball were there ever that many girls to receive the medallion. I feel very blessed to experience such a fulfilling night and have the chance to be a small part of this momentous accomplishment with these girls in giving back to the community. It makes me incredibly proud.”
At Canevin, Saldanha is president of student government and editor of the newspaper. She also is a member of St. Ignatius Scholars, National Honors Society, Future Business Leaders of America and in the spring musical. She is active with the youth group at Holy Child Parish in Bridgeville. She would like to major in journalism with a concentration in broadcasting and a minor in political science.
Charlotte Smith is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. Reach her at 724-693-9441 or email@example.com.