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Franklin Regional invites Hurdle to speak

| Thursday, May 29, 2014, 11:24 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle poses for a portrait during the team's photo day at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.

Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle will speak at Franklin Regional High School's baccalaureate service on June 5.

“Our goal, for this year in particular, is to give the seniors as many positive memories of the spring as possible,” said Pastor James “Lu” Llewellyn of Murrysville Alliance Church.

The religious service for seniors and their families is an annual pre-graduation event that will feature music and readings from students, said Llewellyn, who organized the event with Associate Pastor Chris Dericks of the First Presbyterian Church of Murrysville.

Commencement is June 6.

The pair set out to secure Hurdle as speaker in the aftermath of a mass stabbing attack in the high school on April 9 that left 20 students and a security guard injured. Alex Hribal, a 16-year-old sophomore, allegedly took two knives to school and went on a rampage in a first-floor hallway before the start of classes.

Since the attacks, the Pirates have honored students and first responders during home games. A Pirates Charities raffle during a game 10 days after the stabbings raised $14,695 for a fund to assist victims and their families.

Before a home game last week, the organization and Allegheny Health Network recognized paramedics and emergency medical technicians from several ambulance services who treated victims at the school.

Hurdle said before that game that the request for him to speak to the senior class was “humbling.”

“So many times, it's all about community,” he said. “That's how we find a way to get through challenges — personally, professionally, socially.”

Before the game on Thursday , Hurdle said he was looking forward to the opportunity.

“I think we need to at least share some thoughts about what happened, why it happened and how we move forward as a community and as individuals,” he said Thursday. “I've got a little story up my sleeve already that I've started to jot down, that I hope will shed some light and some encouragement for us all moving forward. I'm really looking forward to it.”

It happened that the Pirates have a day off June 5 — one of three during June — after a seven-game West Coast trip.

“I was very excited,” Llewellyn said.

Speakers at past baccalaureate services have included pastors, community members or alumni, he said.

“We have about six seniors that will be part of the service,” Llewellyn said. “It's really a student-driven event.”

Staff writer Rob Biertempfel contributed. Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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