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Fox Chapel Rotary continues to invest in future

Fox Chapel Area High School seniors were honored for their scholarship and volunteer efforts by the Rotary Club of Fox Chapel area at a luncheon May 29 at the Pittsburgh Field Club. Pictured are, first row from left, Margaret Driver, Alaina George, Katherine Meisner, Kelly Capone, Rachel Clapper, Hannah Gross, Christina Humensky, Kate Hardiman, with Mary Lee Gannon, Rotary Club Past President. Back Row: Joseph Mertz, Jad Hilal, Prem Rajgopal and Susheel Khetarpal.

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The students honored by Fox Chapel Rotary, the high school department they represent and the colleges they will attend are:

Kelly Capone, English Department, Washington and Jefferson College;

Rachel Clapper, Art Department, Carnegie Mellon University;

Margaret Driver, Family and Consumer Science Department, Community College in California;

Alaina George, Physical Education Department, George Washington University;

Hannah Gross, Media/Communications Department, Chatham University;

Kate Hardiman, World Languages Department, University of Notre Dame;

Jad Hilal, Music Department, University of Pittsburgh;

Christina Humensky, Business Department, Robert Morris University;

Susheel Khetarpal, Social Studies Department, Carnegie Mellon University;

Katherine Meisner, Science Department, James Madison University;

Joseph Mertz, Technology Department, Carnegie Mellon University;

Prem Rajgopal, Math Department, University of South California.

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Fox Chapel Rotary tries to keep an eye toward the future with its service projects.

From youth leadership awards to the recent “Students without Computers,” Rotary members like to invest in school-aged children.

And, they like to congratulate a job well done.

The group honored a dozen Fox Chapel Area graduates for their academics and volunteerism with a luncheon at the Pittsburgh Field Club.

“Our youth are the leaders of tomorrow,” past Rotary President Mary Lee Gannon said.

“Rotary is happy to honor these students not only for their academic achievement but for their performance outside of the classroom in accordance with Rotary's motto of ‘Service Above Self.”

The students each got $75 VISA gift cards as congratulations.

Founded in 1970, the Fox Chapel branch of Rotary International is one of 34,000 clubs worldwide.

Volunteers support education and job training, work to combat hunger and seek to improve the condition of local communities.

Students were selected for the Rotary honor by academic department heads at the high school.

Government and Politics Teacher Jen Klein said students were chosen in one of 12 disciplines for their leadership in that field.

All will attend college this fall.

Susheel Khetarpal was chosen for his excellence in social studies.

Khetarpal said he delved into school clubs like Forensics and Model UN, which allowed him to broaden his high school experience.

“I enjoyed taking various history and social studies classes, but participating in Forensics Debate and Model UN really allowed me to expand my historical knowledge and debate skills,” he said.

“I am very thankful for the Rotary for this honor.”

Khetarpal will attend Carnegie Mellon University to study biology.

Gannon said Rotary support of student projects runs deep. It includes leadership skill development, broadening youth knowledge of world affairs and recognizing outstanding community service.

Pat Serey, chair of youth projects, said the Rotary each year pays for high school students to attend the World Affairs Institute in Pittsburgh.

“It is meant to engage high school leaders in a discussion of key issues in international affairs so they will think critically about the world,” he said.

This spring, Rotary sponsored 10 FCA students at a cost of $75 each.

Members also give $1,000 each year for students to attend an intensive six-day training program at La Roche College meant to foster leadership and personal skills.

Serey said the club recognizes college-bound seniors who demonstrate the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” by awarding two $500 Community Service Scholarships each year.

This year, the awards went to Amanda Todd and Claire McCarthy.

“We hope to encourage high school students to begin to fulfill Rotary's mission of providing service to others, promoting high ethical standards and advancing world understanding,” Serey said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or

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