Producing fundraiser creates excitement for Fox Chapel Area student

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 8:58 p.m.

Hannah Gross tackles life like an All-American.

She is energetic and enthusiastic, and she makes things happen.

The week before Christmas, Hannah was a part of the Fox Chapel Area High School's annual telethon to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

She was the producer for the 23rd version of the on-air fundraiser, which raised more than $35,000.

Hannah's concern was a minute-by-minute plan for the two hours between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. when the telethon was live on air on Dec. 20.

The live production required precise organization, which started in November.

Hannah said, “I worked on the big-picture side. The director was Joe Mertz who was in charge of the technical side.”

One of the first things Hannah completed was filming segments with a kaleidoscope of school activities such as the band, choir and orchestra.

Using a computerized timer, they interspersed the segments with the live action featuring students and feeds from the elementary schools.

Last year, Hannah was in front of the camera visiting younger students at the elementary schools.

After three years as a talent, this was her first time on staff.

“I love performing. I'm a people person,” she said. “But I loved being in a position of authority. It's a tie what I like the best,” Hannah said.

She had trouble sleeping the night before the telethon.

However, she thrived on the excitement.

“I crave the live feeling, the live energy,” she said.

Along with working in the school TV studio and the telethon, she has appearing in four-years-worth of fall plays and three spring comedies.

In addition, she appears with the Smithfield Street Theater, which performs different material from school productions.

“They (Smithfield Street Theater) are not afraid to stretch the boundaries,” Hannah said.

The teen enjoys the feel of the city and the variety of small theaters.

She has been taking dance lessons within minutes of her home, first at Kerr Elementary and now in Etna where she continues ballet, jazz and tap lessons.

“I'm an urban girl,” she said.

The “mini-city feel” is part of her life growing up in Sharpsburg on Sixth Street.

She walks to stores.

She volunteers at the Literacy Center.

Her favorite place to think and de-stress is on the swing in her back yard.

She is very close to her family, many of whom are certified scuba-divers, hunting-and-trapping enthusiasts and boating aficionados.

The family enjoys traveling and Hannah loves waking up in a hotel, ready to explore.

She also enjoys spending time with both sets of grandparents who live nearby.

As much as she loves traveling, Hannah has plenty of places she wants to search out in her hometown. That's why she is exploring colleges in Pittsburgh.

The enthusiastic teen isn't sure what direction she wants to take. As much as she loves the arts, she is enthralled with sciences such as anatomy.

Her next activity is just around the corner.

Hannah said, “As soon as I stop with one thing, my foot's in the door for a new thing.”

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer with Trib Total Media.

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