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McKeesport Message Committee to recognize essay winners

Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Amanda and Gary Brougher of the Pittsburgh Dream Center sort through fresh fruit, juice boxes and snack items that are included in this weekend's distribution of Backpacks of Hope, a program that sends food home with Centennial Elementary students in need of food assurance.

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Respect, Dignity, Hope and Love

Where: Jacob Woll Pavilion, Renziehausen Park

When: Tuesday

Private reception for essay winners, 4 p.m.

Public reading and second quarter kickoff, 5 p.m.

By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Saturday, April 27, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
 

In keeping with the McKeesport Message Committee's goal of highlighting respect, dignity, hope and love with four quarterly promotions in 2013, a reception is planned for McKeesport Area High School students who helped to spread the word.

On Tuesday at the Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park, McKeesport will transition between the first and second quarters of its message campaign.

High school students, who took part in a first-quarter essay contest on the message of respect, will share their definitions of respect before committee members tie their concepts into the next message of dignity. There will be a private reception at 4 p.m. for essay finalists and a public reading and celebration at 5 o'clock. Light refreshments will be served during both events.

“The collaboration between the school district and the city has helped us make everyone in the city aware of the McKeesport message,” committee member Annette James said. “It involves not only adults, but because of the essay contest, it will eventually reach all of the children in the school district.”

Assistant principal Tia Wanzo, a Message Committee member, praised students for writing and teachers for encouraging classroom participation.

“Our high school students embraced the message of respect, and I was very happy to see so many share their thoughts on the subject,” she said. “We had a wonderful response, and the essays were very well written.”

Finalists, four of whom will be awarded grand prize “summer fun” packages during Tuesday's event, include freshmen Keshon Bell, Jacob Garwood and Nayelle Williams; sophomores Dominique Allen, Amanda Chelosky and Nicole Gergely; juniors Tim Augustine, Sean Lou Gilmore and Taylor Golden; and seniors Aviva Gersovitch, Devin Kiska and Tayla Rouse.

The McKeesport Message Committee is a subgroup of Mayor Michael Cherepko's Select Committee on Crime and Violence. The quarterly messages are intended to promote positive outcomes for city youth, among other initiatives.

As the city closes its first-quarter campaign, Cherepko said, it's important for students to understand how their peers define respect so that the next message of dignity can be promoted to the fullest extent.

“Dignity is about being worthy of respect and then understanding your self-worth,” the mayor said. “Individuals who have dignity will think about the choices they have. They will make good choices throughout their whole lives, and our youth will be productive citizens as adults.”

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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