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BVA students contribute writings to school’s 50th anniversary book


Students submitting winning entries for publication in a book commemorating Belle Vernon Area School District’s 50th anniversary as a merger are, left to right, Sarah McCloskley, Aleah Belczyk, Paul Amicucci, Tim Balchak, Margarita Hart and Sarah Huntoon. Missing from photo is Evan Hannan, now a student at Washington & Jefferson College.

PHOTO CREDIT:  David Mills Photography
For Immediate Release

   Eight Belle Vernon Area students have been chosen to have their written entries included in a book being published as part of the school district’s 50thanniversary observance.

Two who were in the middle school and six who were in high school last year will share $500 in cash awards as well as be guests at an April 29th “gala” for which planning is under way. A reception, dinner, video, entertainment, alumni guests, displays and opening a time capsule from 1967 will be part of activities at the high school.

   Students at both schools were asked last spring to “strut their stuff” and be part of preserving school history by submitting a poem, short essay, special piece of art or other media work. Scores of them responded based on self-reflections, remembrances, biographical pieces and personal experiences.

   Judging was led by John (Jack) Lofink, BVA Class of ’71, a retired educator, former superintendent of Preston County, W.Va., schools and a co-chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee.

   The cash awards are sponsored by committee members and community contributors helping underwrite the cost of publishing the comprehensive book that includes “town and gown” history, anecdotes, a collection of photos, student contributions and other items relating to the past, present and future of Belle Vernon Area School District.

   “That BVA is producing talented students who appreciate family, friends, their school and the community is obvious in their entries and bodes well for our future,” Lofink said.

   The merger of the former Bellmarette Joint and Rostraver school districts reached a milestone when students from their respective high schools came together in the current BVA High School building and graduated seven weeks later as one class – officially the first class.

   After details of the April 29th event are finalized, the public will be notified about an opportunity to purchase tickets.  Meanwhile, the 50th Anniversary Committee is continuing to seek financial help to underwrite costs associated with the milestone event in school history, such as the student awards.

Here’s a list of winning entries:

   BVA Middle School

    Sarah McCloskey (now in high school), a poem, “Everlasting Memories,” and Avery Ochs, a poem, “An All-Around Athlete.”


   BVA High School

   Sarah Huntoon, an essay, “In the Eyes of an Outsider.” Aleah Belczyk, a poem, “BVA: Honor to Thee.” Tim Balchak, an essay, “BVA: Integrity, Respect, Community.” Paul Amicucci, an essay, “BVA’s Big 50th: A look at the past.” Margarita Hart, an essay, “Where Home Is.” Evan Hannan (now in college), a poem, “Thank You, BVA!”

Entries from Derek Thomas, Sarah Palli, Marissa Perozzi, Dylan Haney, Taylor Kovatch, Haley Gray and Sara Bellissimo gained “honorable mention” status.