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Trib Total Media honors standout students, awards $5,000 scholarship

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A very humble Benjamin Myers, a senior at Franklin Regional, is congratulated by his grandmother, Mary Lou Hoetzlein (center) of Monroeville, and his mother, Christine, after being awarded the gold medal and $5,000 in the Trib Total Media Outstanding Young Citizen East Division at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville on Thursday, April 18, 2013.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
A very humble Benjamin Myers, a senior at Franklin Regional, is congratulated by his grandmother, Mary Lou Hoetzlein (center) of Monroeville, and his mother, Christine, after being awarded the gold medal and $5,000 in the Trib Total Media Outstanding Young Citizen East Division at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville on Thursday, April 18, 2013.

Trib Total Media awarded Benjamin Myers of Franklin Regional High School a $5,000 scholarship on Thursday in the East Division of its Outstanding Young Citizens program.

Myers, 18, a senior from Murrysville, attributed his scholarship to the three mission trips he took with his family to El Salvador. He played soccer with orphans, repaved sidewalks destroyed by a mudslide, put a new roof on a bakery and installed an oven.

“It definitely made me want to do more because I realize that there was more out there than in my own small community,” said Myers, who plans to pursue a degree in computer science in college.

Myers was one of 50 juniors and seniors honored at the banquet at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Monroeville. Trib Total Media had already honored the top 50 students in the South and West Division and will recognize Outstanding Young Citizens in the Westmoreland and North divisions later.

The Top 10 students in each division receive a Gold Medal award, and one student in each division receives the scholarship. This is the first year that Trib Total Media has awarded scholarships.

“We are proud to honor the region's most outstanding young people for the good things that they do and are confident that these leaders of tomorrow will help our region continue to thrive now and into the future,” said Ralph Martin, president and CEO of Trib Total Media.

A panel of community leaders chose the Outstanding Young Citizens from among 257 nominees representing 35 schools.

The guest speaker at Thursday's ceremony was Paul Alexander, host of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pirates pregame and postgame shows on ROOT Sports and host of the morning show on 93.7 THE FAN.

The 10 Gold Medal recipients are:

• Cody Kazousky: The Kittanning Senior High School junior was elected president of the Kittanning Performing Arts Center, referees YMCA youth soccer and is a volunteer firefighter for Pine. He plans to study electronics and computer engineering technology at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.

• Mary Komandt: The Franklin Regional junior won the Girl Scout Silver and Visionary awards, plays varsity basketball and performs in the marching band at school and plays the piano and organ for Hebron Lutheran Church. She wants to pursue a career in pharmacy or pediatric care.

• Kylie Madden: The Elizabeth Forward senior participates in stage crew and on the varsity track and field and mock trial teams. She plans to study political science and anthropology at George Washington University.

• Paul Murray: The Kiski Area senior plays varsity tennis and is a member of the marching and jazz bands and wind ensemble. He built houses on a mission trip to Mexico. He wants to eventually go to seminary.

• Benjamin Myers: The Franklin Regional senior is a member of the robotics team and belonged to the robotics and cross country teams. He went on mission trips to orphanages in El Salvador and has gone caroling at retirement homes. He plans to study computer science in college.

• Hannah Neumann: The Kiski Area senior won a Women in Science Award and the Westmoreland Youth Symphony Competition. She does research on Crohn's disease through Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She wants to study parks and recreation and Spanish at Slippery Rock University.

• Alayna Sanderson: The Norwin High School senior is a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, volunteers at Sonshine Community Ministries in McKeesport and raises money for women rescued from human trafficking. She plans to study biology at Cedarville University in Ohio.

• Erin Schwoegl: The Woodland Hills senior is president of the National Honor Society, captain of the varsity rifle team and a tutor for elementary school students. She wants to study biology and attend dental school.

• Allison Walker: The Oakland Catholic senior has won the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award from the University of Rochester, is on the varsity swim team and has gone on a mission trip to Guatemala. She plans to study physics in a premedicine track in college.

• Megan Wasson: The Oakland Catholic senior was captain of the varsity tennis and forensics teams, serves as a student ambassador, is active in campus ministry and went on a service trip to Mt. Ranier, Md. She wants to study engineering in college.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or

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