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Monessen senior Brandemarte ready to tackle life's challenge

| Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007

Monessen High School senior Rodger Brandemarte enjoys math and chemistry as his favorite subjects and hopes to continue learning about them in college.

His choices include Washington & Jefferson College, Duquesne University, Coastal Carolina in South Carolina, and California University of Pennsylvania.

The 17-year-old is a kicker for the football team. Brandemarte also plays basketball, baseball and golf. He is a three-year letterman in golf, made the all-conference first team in football and is a two-year letterman.

Brandemarte is a member of the Leo Club and president of the broadcasting staff. He serves as office intern for Randy Marino, school principal.

The Monessen Historical Society knows Brandemarte, too. He helps out there with inventory, spreadsheets and computers.

"I'm good with computers," Brandemarte said.

When he leaves for college, Brandemarte will miss the atmosphere at Monessen High School.

"High school has been great. I love to come to school," he said. "I love being here. I will miss not having Greyhound across my chest."

Brandemarte looks forward to meeting the challenges of higher education.

"It's starting my journey on the road through life," he said.

The road through life handed Brandemarte a difficult challenge. His dad, Rodger Brandemarte, died when young Rodger was 11 years old. Brandemarte described his dad as a "loving father."

"I dedicate everything I do, to show how much I miss him. It motivates me to do better," he added. "I could always count on them (my parents)."

Brandemarte's mother, Toni Lynn, has since remarried. His stepfather is Joseph Salvino. Now mom and stepdad are a big part of Brandemarte's life.

"I had no problem with mom remarrying. She's happy right now. I think I have very good backup," he said.

After losing his dad, nothing that happens now upsets Brandemarte.

He still likes to be with friends.

"We play sports all the time," Brandemarte said.

Siblings are brother Nicholas, who is in ninth grade, and older sister Jessa, who is 20 years old.

Asked what it meant to be a Monessen Greyhound, Brandemarte said, "Our town is so small, people enjoy being called Greyhound. I think it's special to be a Greyhound."

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