Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant spotlights top students of district's Class of 2013

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

Over the decades, more than 1,000 scholastically gifted students from 40 Mt. Pleasant Area School District senior classes have been honored during the Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant's annual F.R. Hauser Scholastic Banquet.

They have gone on to become physicians, pharmacists, lawyers, accountants, ministers, guidance counselors and at least one became a professional football player.

The 20 young men and women recognized during the event's most recent installment were told and retold the importance of such a hallmark distinction.

“On behalf of the Rotary Club, I would like to congratulate the students who are being honored here tonight,” said Rotarian George Wood during the banquet held at Bell's Banquets in Laurelville. “This is our 40th year of doing this.”

Among those recognized were 18 students who compose the top 10 percent of the district's Class of 2013 in terms of academic excellence.

They include: Alison Adamrovich, Ryan Dombrosky, Karissa Farrell, Kevin Freeman, John Hildebrand III, Kylie Hissem, Alexander Krol, Haylie Kromer, Elizabeth Mizikar, Justin Overly, Natalie Overly, Katlyn Puskar, Tyler Rea, Julie Shields, Jena Szelong, Emily Uhrin, Christina Whetzel and Cody Wiltrout.

The future plans of each student are as follows:

• Adamrovich, daughter of Doug and Lynn Adamrovich of Acme, plans to attend St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa., with the goal of completing the university's five-year occupational therapy program;

• Dombrosky, the son of Eric and Roberta Dombrosky of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Penn State University's Behrend Campus in Erie to study mechanical engineering;

• Farrell, daughter of William and Lisa Farrell of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Syracuse University to study a science-related field;

• Freeman, son of Allen and Joyce Freeman of Acme, plans to attend a four-year college to study engineering;

• Hilderbrand, son of John Hilderbrand II and Michele Hilderbrand of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Cedarville University in Ohio to study mechanical engineering;

• Hissem, daughter of David and Ronisue Hissem of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Westmoreland County Community College and then transfer to another college;

• Krol, son of John and Meg Krol of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend either Washington & Jefferson College or St. Vincent College to study chemistry;

• Kromer, daughter of Michael and D'Anna Kromer of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Mercyhurst University to study public health and dance, after which she hopes to pursue a career within the public health sector such as pediatrics or naturopathic medicine requiring graduate studies;

• Mizikar, daughter of Stan and Sherry Mizikar of Norvelt, plans to attend Penn State University to study geosciences in hopes of becoming a paleontologist;

• Natalie Overly, daughter of Jonnee Zipnock of Greensburg, plans to attend High Point University in North Carolina to study business;

• Justin Overly, son of James and Francine Overly of Acme, plans to attend college to study biology or train to become a physician's assistant;

• Puskar, daughter of Frank and Kimberly Puskar of Acme, also plans to attend St. Francis University to complete the occupational therapy program;

• Rea, son of Timothy and Kimberly Rea of Mt. Pleasant Township, plans to attend Cedarville University in Ohio to study mechanical engineering;

• Shields, daughter of Sandra Baker of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend St. Vincent College to study accounting with hopes of becoming a certified public accountant;

• Szelong, daughter of Wally and Gretchen Szelong of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Westmoreland County Community College before transferring to Duquesne University to study pharmacy;

• Uhrin, daughter of David and Karen Uhrin of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Penn State University Fayette, The Eberly Campus, to study nursing with the goal of eventually specializing;

• Whetzel, daughter of Eric MacDonald of Mt. Pleasant and Larissa Whetzel of Elizabeth, N.J., plans to attend St. Vincent College to study mathematics;

• Wiltrout, son of Robert and Darlene Wiltrout of Mt. Pleasant, plans to attend Penn State University at University Park to study biomedical engineering.

Also spotlighted were Hailey Lowther and Kevin Krepps, students of the health occupations technology program and logistics and warehouse management program, respectively, at the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in New Stanton.

Lowther and Krepps each earned $500 as recipients of the club's vocational scholarships.

“They are dedicated young people and are excited for this opportunity,” said Lon Hayes, a guidance counselor at the center.

Lowther, daughter of Terri Lowther of United, plans to pursue additional education at Pennsylvania Institute of Health & Technology and aspires to earn a license practical nursing degree.

Krepps, son of Jennifer Riter and Jeff Sager, plans to pursue a degree in education at Westmoreland County Community College before transferring to Indiana University of Pennsylvania or Penn State University to earn a bachelor's degree in career and technology education.

“You're all going to succeed because you've gotten to this point by knowing how to study, how to work hard and how to make the commitment necessary to succeed,” said Terry Struble, the district's superintendent.

Ken Williams, principal of Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School, made sure to offer his gratitude to the students' parents.

“I'd like to thank all the parents here tonight for all of your dedication, your involvement and your support in your children's lives,” Williams said.

On behalf of all of their peers, students Kromer and Wiltrout took the time to give credit back to all the moms and dads, as well.

“We would like to thank all of our parents for all they have done to help us,” Wiltrout said. “And we would like to thank the Rotary Club for this fine recognition.”

Rotarian Alicia Bell also took time to honor Rotary Exchange Student Program participants Nick Krozel, a district student who studied in Sweden, and Kelly van den Wildenberg, who traveled to study at the district this year from Germany.

“Being involved in the Rotary Exchange Program helps you to grow up, and it shows you how different people can be,” van den Wildenberg said.

Kathleen Comini, manager of Standard Bank in Mt. Pleasant and president-elect of the Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant, offered the students the final message of the night.

“We wish you all a wonderful life and continued success on your life's journey,” Comini said.

The first such banquet honored members of the district's class of 1973.

It was organized by the late F.R. Hauser. who was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and a local businessman who served as a Rotarian for more than 50 years.

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or

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