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Geibel names 2013's top students

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 1:46 a.m.
Peyton McIntyre, Geibel 2013 valedictorian
Lori PAdilla | for the Daily Courier
Peyton McIntyre, Geibel 2013 valedictorian
Olivia Rakas, Geibel 2013 co-salutatorian
Lori Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Olivia Rakas, Geibel 2013 co-salutatorian
Katherine Catanzarite, Geibel 2013 co-salutatorian
Lori Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Katherine Catanzarite, Geibel 2013 co-salutatorian
Janine Fiesta, Geibel 2013 commencement speaker
Janine Fiesta, Geibel 2013 commencement speaker

Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School will have 26 graduating students in its Class of 2013.

Peyton McIntyre has been named valedictorian. Co-salutatorians are Katherine Catanzarite and Olivia Rakas.

Baccalaureate Mass will be held 7 p.m. Monday in St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Scottdale. A reception will follow in St. John the Baptist School cafeteria for graduates and their families.

Geibel's 50th commencement ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the school gym. Members of the first graduating class in 1964 were sent letters inviting them as guests to the commencement. The evening's speaker will be Janine Fiesta, Esq., a 1964 graduate. Senior Amanda Hanabeck will give the Graduates' Prayer at the conclusion of the commencement ceremonies.

“The Geibel Catholic graduating Class of 2013 provided exceptional leadership to our student body in the two years that I have been their principal,” Donald Favero said. “They were exceptional in many ways, including their academic and service accomplishments that were a key in Geibel being named one of the Top 50 Catholic high schools in the nation by the Cardinal Newman Society on Sept. 20 of this school year; 42 percent of the class is graduating with academic honors; 39 percent of the class are members of the prestigious National Honor Society; 100 percent of the class is college bound; 31 percent of the class will go off to Catholic colleges and universities.

“These are young people of intellectual and spiritual substance,” he continued. “Many of them will be unstoppable in the pursuit of their dreams and aspirations after high school. We were blessed to have had them at Geibel Catholic, and I am very blessed to have the honor of being their principal.”

Peyton McIntyre

McIntyre is the daughter of Steve and Darlene McIntyre of Uniontown, where she is a member of St. Therese Little Flower Church. In her parish community, she has been an altar server and a helper with Vacation Bible School. McIntyre has achieved highest academic honors all four years at Geibel Catholic, graduating with a 4.2 GPA.

She was sophomore class president, junior class representative and Student Council president her senior year. McIntyre is secretary of the National Honor Society, vice president of Spanish Honor Society, secretary of SADD club, and member of Math League, ski club, Challenge Program advisory board and Fayette County 4.0 club.

McIntyre was elected as a finalist for the Challenge Program Academic Excellence Award for three consecutive years, winning her sophomore year; named Fayette Chamber of Commerce October Student of the Month her junior year; and was Connellsville Elks September Student of the Month her senior year. Also her senior year, she received the Highlands Hospital Scholarship, County Market Academic Award and Hospital Club of Connellsville Scholarship. Geibel presented her with the Excellence in Music Award, Excellence in Spanish Award, Science Department Award and Physics Award.

McIntyre participated in many varsity sports at Geibel. She is a four-year member of the volleyball team, two-year letter winner; four-year member of the basketball team, three-year letter winner; four-year member of the cheerleading squad, three-year letter winner. She also participated in cross country, two-year letter winner; and soccer, one-year letter winner. She was captain of her basketball and cross country teams, along with cheerleading captain; named to the UCA All-American cheerleading team for two years and “all-star” cheerleader for camp. She was MVP of her basketball team, where she earned Fayette County Coaches Association All-County Honors for two years, All-County Volleyball Honors for two years, and finished 8th in the county in cross country her sophomore year, to receive all county honors.

She was named an all-section team selection for both volleyball and basketball; Centennial Chevrolet Fall Scholar Athlete; overall girl scholar athlete for her school; received the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award, B'nai B'rith Senior Athlete Award; has been a member of Geibel musicals for four years, where she served as dance captain her senior year; and is a member of the chamber ensemble and pep band.

Outside of school, McIntyre has volunteered to help with the Senior Games for two years and is an assistant Sunday school teacher and CYO volleyball referee.

McIntyre was named the 2012 Geibel Catholic homecoming queen; named to prom court her senior year; was a member of the prom and Christmas dance committees; was chosen to represent Geibel in the 2012 Bituminous Coal Queen Pageant, where she received fourth runnerup and the top impromptu question award.

McIntyre is deciding between Duquesne University, Penn State University at University Park and Saint Mary's of Notre Dame for her college choice and plans to major in pre-med.

Katherine Catanzarite

Catanzarite is the daughter of Marcus and Susan Catanzarite of McClellandtown. A member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in Leckrone, she has been an honors student for four years at Geibel and graduates with a 4.23 grade point average. She is president of the National and Spanish Honor societies.

During her sophomore year, she earned a Gold Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, which she received at California University of Pennsylvania, and went on to compete in the national competition, where she was awarded a Gold Medal for her short story. She received that award at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

In her junior year, Catanzarite received a Silver Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and was named a Fayette County Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month. She was a finalist for the Challenge program's academic excellence and perfect attendance award, received Seton Hill University's Women in Science Award for Chemistry, and was inducted into the Penn State 4.0 club. This year, Catanzarite again entered the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and was awarded two Silver Keys and two Gold Keys. One Gold Key was for her fictional writing portfolio which was also an American Visions and Voices nominee. She was also named a Connellsville Elk's Lodge Student of the Month, received the Challenge program's award for academic excellence; was recently awarded the Connellsville Mozart Club Scholarship; and from her teachers, Catanzarite received awards for overall music excellence and the 2013 Arlene Severin Memorial English Award.

Catanzarite has participated in the Chamber Choir, where she served as alto section leader; the spring musical, “Les Miserables,” in which she portrayed a lead role as Éponine and served as an assistant dance captain; participated in pep band, Gator Entertainers; and served as a Eucharistic Minister and cantor for school Masses.

Catanzarite volunteers for her parish as an altar server, cantor and choir member, and is active in church functions such as the annual Lenten fish fries, summer bazaars, and is the song leader for Vacation Bible School. Other activities include piano lessons with Sandi Guritza, voice with Merle Stutzman, and dance at the Kalivoda Dance Center. For the past year, Catanzarite has been giving piano lessons to beginning students.

In the fall, she will attend Seton Hill University where she has received the SHU Rising Star Scholarship, Community Service Scholarship, SHU Leadership Grant and Elizabeth Seton Presidential Scholarship for her SAT score and GPA. She plans to major in creative writing and minor in music.

Olivia Rakas

Rakas, daughter of Jane and Timothy Rakas of Uniontown, is a member of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church. She has earned highest honors all four years of high school. She is vice president of the National Honor Society, treasurer of the French National Honor Society and Chamber Ensemble Soprano 1 section leader. Her other academic honors include Geibel Catholic Alumni Award; member of the Penn State 4.0 club; Mozart Music Club Student of the Month; recipient of the Mozart Music Club Scholarship; Challenge Program Academic Excellence Award; Connellsville Elks Student of the Month; Soroptimist Violet Richardson Community Service Award; Fayette County Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month; Seton Hill University Women in Science Award; and Penn State University Annual Francophone Cultural French Day awards in the Poster Contest first and second place and the Vocabulary Bee second place.

Rakas has been involved in many activities at Geibel including the Geibel Gazette newspaper, musicals, morning announcer, yearbook staff, cantor, lector, Eucharistic minister, Archives Club, Dead Poets Society, golf team, pep band, powder puff football, Fly Fishing Club, cheerleading, Calligraphy Club, Gator Entertainers, and was named 2013 prom queen. Outside of school, she enjoys playing guitar and piano, dance, traveling, reading and photography.

She contributes and volunteers for the following organizations: St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church where she is an altar server, cantor, visitor of homebound and nursing home residents, Consolation Team, Bible School song leader, Youth Leader, and assistant to the sacristans. Geibel school volunteer for the annual auction, coat drive, musical theater camp and Haiti fundraisers, Fayette County Senior Citizen Center, Mount Saint Macrina, Relay for Life, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Koza & Co. Dance School, the American Heart Association and The Center for Hope.

In the fall, Rakas will be attending Seton Hill University in the honors program to double-major in forensic science and music.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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