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Sony makes Southmoreland a star

| Saturday, May 12, 2012, 12:47 p.m.

Last September, Sony Technology Center-Pittsburgh embraced Southmoreland High School as its Star Class School, launching a program that will track 12 scholar finalists from the middle of their sophomore year to their senior year.

One winner will emerge with a $10,000 college scholarship.

The program started with a kick-off rally in the school's gym where Sony representatives announced the scholarship opportunity.

Applicants submitted portfolios with no specific guidelines, said Sony communications specialist Mary Lynn Harden. "Really it should be a snapshot of their life right now. It could include awards, letters of recommendation, a photo of the student and information on their post-high school goals," she said.

The chosen dozen were selected from a field of 23 students who submitted portfolios. All have at least a 3.0 grade point average and demonstrate good citizenship. None have an unexcused absence from school. The contenders have to maintain these standards through their senior year to be eligible for the scholarship. During their junior year, contenders must team up on a community service project.

Carolyn Adams, the school principal, said the service-oriented goals of the program provide the most benefit. "Though there is an individual result -- one person receiving the scholarship -- the program provides all 12 the opportunity to work as a team, to work together for community service. We feel that it can be a success for everyone involved."

Harden said she has seen students continue service projects long after they have to be finished in some of the Sony Star Class Teams organized in San Diego and San Jose, Calif., and Dothan, Ala., the three other school districts where the program is held annually. This is the first school year that Sony and Southmoreland High School have partnered. For the past six years, the program was held at Frazier High School in Perryopolis, but Southmoreland is now the only school in Pennsylvania involved in the program. Harden said Southmoreland administrators and Sony officials plan to continue the partnership.

Each student will have to compile another portfolio his or her senior year, then complete a short interview with judges and take part in a peer evaluation. Their scores will be added to come up with the scholarship winner.

The following is an alphabetical list of the 12 sophomore finalists and the accomplishments they said make them most proud.

  • Jason Maxwell Buchta, of East Huntingdon Township, is tied for No. 1 in his class with a 4.0 grade point average. He is active in the school's student council, Southmoreland's Environmentally Aware Students and Students for Life Choices.

  • Mindy Hixson, of Scottdale, is a member of several student organizations, including the German Club and the German National Honor Society, the school newspaper staff and Calliope, the school's literary magazine. She is also an active member of Connellsville Church of Christ. In the summer, she spends a few weeks as a volunteer lifeguard at Delaware Valley Christian Camp.

  • Allie Lane, of Scottdale, is an American Legion Award winner and a member of the Spanish National Honor Society. She is also the sophomore class vice president.

  • Emily Lash, of Scottdale, has been listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students and The National Honor Roll. She also has done volunteer work for the Special Olympics, the Salvation Army and the Children's Miracle Network.

  • Lauren Love, of Scottdale, is involved in dance, qualifying for this summer's Star Power national dance competition in Ocean City, Md. She played on Southmoreland's girls fast-pitch softball team and is poised to start her fifth season playing for the Greater Scottdale Girls Softball League. She also was recognized in Who's Who Among American High School Students.

  • Brienne Mains, of Scottdale, was recognized in Who's Who Among American High School Students and The National Honor Roll. She is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society.

  • Thomas McIntyre, of Scottdale, plays on the varsity football team and lettered in track for two years for throwing discus. He has been elected next year's class president and has been named in Who's Who Among American High School Students and The National Honor Roll.

  • Ashley Moore, of Ruffsdale, is sports editor of the school newspaper, Tam O'Shanter, and one of her sports stories won first place in the Point Park College/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Journalism Contest. She also has been accepted into The National Honor Roll.

  • Theresa Peachey, of Scottdale, is a member of the school's Highlander Choir and a member of the German National Honor Society. She placed No. 1 in the Johnstown Bible Quiz Meet in March.

  • Justin Polyblank, of Scottdale, plays saxophone and made it to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association's All State band. He has made the Indiana University of Pennsylvania honors band four years in a row and is in the top 10 percent of his class.

  • Maria Rendine, of Mt. Pleasant, is a Southmoreland High School cheerleader who qualified for the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League state race for cross country. She also teaches religious education classes at her church, St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church.

  • Jason Sinsley, of Scottdale, is tied for No. 1 class rank. He is class treasurer and a member of student council.

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