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Scholarship dedicated to Bethlehem Baptist pastor to benefit McKeesport Area Technology Center student

| Saturday, April 6, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
McKeesport Area Technology Center students can apply for the Noah's Ark Community Center scholarship. Cody Kraus, a building construction student, looks over an application with Superintendent Timothy Gabauer, second from left, the Rev. Earlene Coleman and Merle Taylor, and students Mariah Irons, cosmetology; Desire Davidson, allied health; Kennedy McPherson, child care; and Antonio Brooks, culinary arts.

Thanks to the generosity of a McKeesport Hospital Foundation contributor, a technology center student at McKeesport Area School District will receive a $1,000 scholarship this spring.

Noah's Ark Community Center will present the scholarship, which is dedicated to the Rev. Earlene Coleman, who is a community center board member and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport.

“Rev. Coleman has done so much for our community,” Foundation executive committee chairman Merle Taylor said. “This scholarship will honor her and what she does for the community and the youth. This scholarship will not only help the youth, it is a way to give back to the community.”

Any graduating student in the McKeesport Area's Technology Center is eligible to apply. They must complete the application, which includes questions such as “What does community mean to you?” and “Where do you see yourself as being part of the community?”

Students are asked to describe a community center and what involvement they have with local community centers, as well as what specific programs and services are needed in the McKeesport area and offered at the Noah's Ark Community Center. They are asked how the scholarship would impact their life and career goals, the community center, and their community in the future.

Alice Saxon, college and career outreach facilitator at the Technology Center, said the response has been good “but we are expecting a lot more applications by the end of the month.”

Saxon said the scholarship unites the students and the community.

“I love it when the community does something like this and recognizes what good students we have here,” Saxon said.

McKeesport Area Superintendent Timothy Gabauer was not surprised to learn about the scholarship in Coleman's honor.

“There are some people in the community highly deserving of this kind of recognition and she is at the top of the list,” he said. “It's important for our students to learn about someone like her.”

He said Coleman exemplifies everything in terms of making the city a better place.

“She has dedicated her life toward kids and making things better for them,” Gabauer said.

Nearly 10 years ago, the pastor had a vision for a community center in McKeesport where seniors could go and be safe. That dream is inching its way to reality as the former R&J Furniture building at the corner of Market Street and Sixth Avenue will be home for Noah's Ark.

Plans are for the center to have a banquet hall on the ground level, an area for seniors on the second level, and an exercise area with lockers on the lower level. A cafe — run by students — is planned in the former Buchman Studios site.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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