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Penn Hills' PTA Scholarship Committee puts call out for donors

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Aaron Loughner | For The Penn Hills Progress
Aaliyah Snell receives the Dible Scholarship at the 2013 ceremony.
Aaron Loughner | For The Penn Hills Progress
Patrick MacIntyre accepts the Linton Middle School Award on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

The deadline has passed for Penn Hills School District students to apply for the annual PTA Scholarships, but the drive to build the fund is continuing.

Penn Hills parent and former Penn Hills Council of PTAs president Christine Polaski has chaired the scholarship committee for the past three years and helped with the program prior to that.

“We had a chairperson step down and the position needed filled,” Polaski said. “It was too good of a program to lose, and we had a lot of volunteers and committee members.”

The committee gives out between 30 and 45 scholarships each year, Polaski said, and the final number depends heavily on donations.

“We send a letter to each Penn Hills senior's parents letting them know the details about the program,” she said. “We have a list of donors we routinely solicit, but we always explore new donors.”

Donors can specify a certain type of scholarship if they choose, for example, a scholarship for a student pursuing a degree in engineering or in education.

“Sometimes we match up not based on requests, but just as an interest,” Polaski said. “It makes sense to give the (Penn Hebron) Garden Club donation to a student who is interested in landscape architecture. So it's not always a request, but a natural fit.”

Penn Hills dentist Mark Antonucci often honors his father — who served as the school district dentist for many years — with a scholarship for a student pursuing a career in the dental, health or education fields.

About 30 percent of scholarship donors have a specific request, Polaski said. The remaining donations are pooled and distributed as general $500 scholarships.

The Penn Hills Council of PTAs has given out the scholarships for more than two decades, and donors are invited to be part of the presentations in May.

Polaski said the committee is always looking for new donors.

“(This was) a ‘skinny' year,” she said. “We used up a lot of our saved funds last year, so this year we're starting to build that account.”

Donations will be accepted through Feb. 28, and a donation form is available by emailing chrispolaski@verizon.net.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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