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Southmoreland scholar-athletes juggle many interests

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 6:45 p.m.
Paul Paterra | The Independent-Observer
Paige Weaver (left) and Kyle Cohen were recently honored for their academic and athletic achievements at the Judge John J. Driscoll Westmoreland County Scholar Athlete Awards Banquet.

Paige Weaver and Kyle Cohen admit it can be tough at times to juggle all of which they are involved in as seniors at Southmoreland High School.

Be it academics, athletics or other extracurricular activities, they've found a way to do it, and, do it well.

“Time management is a lot of it,” Weaver said.

“You just have to figure out what's more important on some days,” Cohen added.

For that, and many other reasons, the pair was among a host of Westmoreland County high school athletes honored at this year's Judge John J. Driscoll Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet held April 29 at Ferrante's Lakeview in Hempfield.

Each school submits two athletes to be considered and Athletic Director Charlie Swink explained the students usually carry a grade point average of 3.5 or better.

“The guidance counselor had the teachers in the school vote on who they thought were the most qualified,” Swink said.

Once those names are submitted, Westmoreland County Athletic Association athletic directors vote on finalists — six girls and six boys. Weaver was selected as a finalist.

“It's a great feeling to be recognized for both academics and athletics,” Weaver said of being a finalist. “Because it's hard at times to balance your academics and athletics.”

Weaver carries a 4.16 grade point average, is president of the Youth Education Association and also is involved in the varsity club, as werll as the Spanish and National honor societies. She also is one of the student representatives to the school board.

“It was a huge honor to be recognized by the faculty and staff,” Weaver said of her nomination. “To go there and be with the other athletes....was definitely amazing. I know some of them, but to hear their stories is incredible.”

Weaver was a member of the soccer and track teams this year and also has played basketball at Southmoreland in the past. She also volunteers with various historical houses, such as West Overton Museums.

She plans to attend Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. to major in history. She intends to pursue a PhD, with a goal to either be involved in museum curation or be a college professor. She also hopes to play soccer in college.

Cohen carries a 3.51 grade point average and is involved in numerous activities, including the French Club, Alpha, Westmoreland County Food Bank, Scottdale Library and Toys for Tots, along with visits to Scottdale Manor Rehabilitation Center.

“It's an honor that the teachers and everybody thought of me,” Cohen said. “Just the whole experience was great overall.”

He is a four-year letterman on the track team and played running back and defensive back on the football team. He also received the Southmoreland Area Midget Football Association/Pisula and Tomm Lazor/Mon Valley Midget Football League Memorial scholarships.

He plans to attend West Virginia University to major in pharmacy.

“I've always pushed myself and to know that what I've pushed for has gotten me to this point and to be recognized for it, it was just an awesome feeling,” Cohen said.

Swink said the students selected are fine representatives of Southmoreland High School.

“They represented us well and you find out for the most part, these kids who have the grade point averages, have got their act together,” Swink said. “They're just good kids.”

Driscoll made a favorable impression on the duo.

“He was so nice and so supportive,” Weaver said “I talked to him afterward and he remembered things (about me). He took the time to understand what each of us had done.”

The winners at this year's banquet, also selected by the athletic directors, were Frannie Crouse, a soccer player at Greensburg Central Catholic, and Brent Kennedy, cross country and track at Kiski Area.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or

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