Martello to take reins of Plum's GLA upon Shrout's retirement

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 8:28 p.m.

Plum High School teacher Amy Martello was more than impressed when she learned about the Girls' Leaders Association.

“Rose Shrout (current group sponsor) invited me to a banquet that is held every May,” said Martello, 36, an English teacher.

“Seeing the girls there and what the program has done moved my heart, and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.”

Martello became a co-sponsor of the service group, also known as the GLA, with Shrout during the 2011-12 school year.

Martello is poised to lead the program upon the retirement of Shrout, a teacher for 42 years and GLA sponsor for the past 12 years.

Shrout teaches physical education at the high school.

The GLA is a service club at Plum High School that conducts various fundraisers throughout the school year and participates in various community activities.

Fundraiser proceeds go to groups and individuals in need, Shrout said.

“I will miss all my classes and activities,” Shrout said during last week's Plum School Board meeting.

Board member Loretta White, a retired Plum teacher, presented Shrout with a certificate recognizing her for her sponsorship of the GLA.

The GLA celebrated its 51st anniversary this year, Shrout said.

The GLA participates in about 50 projects including collecting items for soldiers, volunteering at the Plum Food Pantry and singing Christmas carols to residents at Independence Court of Monroeville.

Some of the fundraisers include four blood drives during the school year, car washes and a flower sale that raises money for local veterans.

Martello has plans for the club.

“I want to take GLA to different heights, including fresh ideas,” Martello said.

Some of Martello's initiatives include making better use of technology to communicate about GLA-sponsored events.

Martello also wants to convert from a point system to look at members' participation to recording hours of community service.

Martello, who also is sponsor of the drama club, would like to see the GLA become more service oriented.

To that end, Martello and club officers at the beginning of the next school year plan to discuss the possibility of the GLA participating in other organizations' fundraisers and serving as ushers at high school football games.

Another idea is replacing the variety show conducted every other year with a fashion show.

GLA members also have the potential to ease the transition of eighth-graders to the high school.

Martello is looking at the possibility of GLA members conducting an overnight program at Oblock Junior High School to serve as an orientation for the students.

“It would be empowerment for them to give them a role in their education,” Martello said.

Danielle Hiener, incoming president of the GLA, said participation sets the stage for lifelong volunteer service.

“In the teenage years, there is a focus on one's self-identification,” said Hiener who will be a senior this fall.

“In the past three years, I have taken part in many projects. (Participation in) GLA helps you develop leadership skills and a desire to help others. Many (GLA) members participate in community projects after graduation.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

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