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Carlynton mural a tribute to district athletes

| Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
A Carlynton School District mural, which honors some of the district's notable athletes, was unveiled late last month.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
A Carlynton School District mural, which honors some of the district's notable athletes, was unveiled late last month.

The next time people walk into Carlynton High Schools gymnasium, they should be prepared to take a stroll down memory lane.

A 30-foot long and 12-foot tall collage highlighting the athletic achievements of district students now greets residents and visitors coming to catch a game in the gymnasium wing of the school.

But don't call it a wall of fame, Principal Michael Loughren said.

“It's a celebration of some of the great moments that were created here and where we want to go,” he said.

The wall, displaying decades of history through images plastered up prior to winter break, contains the district's core values in the center: Community, Excellence and Character.

The wall was unveiled late last month.

“It's a great talking piece and celebration of some of the achievements we've had and are trying to build from,” Loughren said, emphasizing that one wall can't capture the entire school's success.

Pictures were collected from current and former students, teachers and residents with the cost of the collage covered by a donor.

“It's really giving all residents an opportunity to remember some of the great moments of our history and help connect with some of the students here now,” said athletic director Nathan Milsom.

Perhaps the most famous face on the collage is NFL coach Bill Cowher, who grew up in Crafton and attended Carlynton High.

Guidance office secretary and Carlynton alumna Karen Mitkoski Wilmus helped with the design, sorting through old photos and reaching out to former classmates to collect photos.

“When I look at it I feel pride. I bleed green and gold,” said the mother of four Carlynton graduates. “I'm hoping this can continue on. We touched on a few (achievements) but I am sure there are more to come,” she said.

To someone like varsity basketball coach and math teacher Michael Kozy, looking at the collage is a reminder of their time at Carlynton.

Kozy, who has been teaching at the district for about 20 years, is on the wall as a player after winning the WPIAL championship in 1988.

“Almost everyone on here I remember either watching, teaching or coaching. For me it's pretty special to look back and say ‘Wow, we've done pretty well in our history,”' he said.

Although Carlynton has had a series of plaques to recognize athletic achievements, Kozy believes the mural is much more memorable.

“Seeing the genuine emotion of winning that game or the faces on any of these is so cool to capture,” he said.

But ask Kozy, or any other faculty or administrative member and they don't expect the athletic mural to be the last one.

“Sports is only one facet of what we do. Let's continue this and celebrate our arts or show other department's accomplishments,” he said.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or afelser@tribweb.com.

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