Clemente Jr., ex-Steeler Ward honor WPIAL's most positive athletes
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Senator John Heinz History Center was host to the third annual Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete Awards on Saturday.
The event, put on by Positive Athlete Pittsburgh, hosted family members, coaches and teammates supporting the 26 students who were honored, with a boy and girl selected from each of the WPIAL varsity sports.
Athletes were nominated by coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents based on characteristics such as attitude, encouragement, servant leadership and team focus. The awards were presented by local professional athletes, including former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, Roberto Clemente Jr., son of Pirates legend Roberto Clemente, and Olympic women's hockey goalie Brianne McLaughlin.
“With so much negativity in today's society, you guys are a breath of fresh air to us, to the families out there,” Ward said. “I'm sick of turning on the television and hearing of all the negative stuff that goes on out there. I think we need to have more events like this.”
Highlands was honored as the Highmark Most Positive High School for the way the football team overcame the death of player Ryan Richards at the start of the school year.
“We have a saying at Highlands that we are ‘Rams for life,' ” assistant principal Shawn Bennis said. “The manner in which these students have dealt with this situation makes the Highlands School District community proud to say that we are Rams for life.”
The event was capped by Murrysville mayor Robert Brooks presenting “FR PROUD” T-shirts to the award winners and presenters. He recognized the support that the surrounding communities expressed to Franklin Regional after 20 students and a security officer were wounded in the mass stabbing April 9. The support was still coming in during Saturday's ceremony.
“We would like to send our continued prayers, thoughts and support to Franklin Regional High School as they continue to deal with their recent tragedy,” Bennis said. “Although both of these situations were extremely unfortunate, I believe that it is a great display of Western Pennsylvania pride and a unique sense of community. We are Franklin Regional strong, and we are Rams for life.”
Of those honored, seven received additional college scholarship awards, including Allison Bartoszewicz of Vincentian Academy and Cole Blake of Moon, who were named the 2014 Mylan Labs Male and Female Positive Athletes of the Year. Steelers team neurosurgeon Joe Maroon presented the awards on behalf of Mylan Labs, encouraging the athletes to embrace the challenges that life will throw their way.
Other scholarship winners included Plum's Matt Gunsallus, Freeport's Alexis Roenigk, Mt. Lebanon's Caleb Reynolds, Greensburg Central Catholic's Deanna Dicesere, Canon-McMillan's Alex Hannigan and Mars' Lydia Dennis.
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Georgia prosecutor Yates tapped for No. 2 post in Justice Department
- Steelers offense learning to slam door
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Pittsburgh police doubling up on duty after potential threats
- Steelers defensive game changer: Fourth-down stop thwarts Chiefs
- Steelers clinch trip to postseason with big victory over Chiefs
- Steelers notebook: Gay respects ‘anything’ referees call
- Government survey: More teens trying out e-cigarettes than real thing
- Old-school booksellers learn to survive, thrive in digital age
- Vigil honors 6 homeless who died in Pittsburgh in 2014
- Pittsburgh mayor Peduto goes ‘Undercover’ for CBS reality show