• Alumni Q&A with Luke Henne, SV Class of 2019

    Posted by The Communications Department on 3/28/2024

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:
    After graduation, I attended Duquesne University (DU). I graduated Summa Cum Laude from DU in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Information and Media, and a minor in English. I served as the sports editor and editor-in-chief at The Duquesne Duke, the university's student-run newspaper. I spent the summer between my junior and senior years as a media relations intern with the Pittsburgh Pirates under the guidance of fellow Seneca Valley graduate Dan Hart, the team's director of media relations. I then worked as a staff writer intern with the Pittsburgh Penguins. I pursued a second internship with Hart and the Pirates for the first part of the 2023 season, which parlayed itself into a higher-responsibility media relations internship with the Milwaukee Brewers, which began this past August. I moved away from the Pittsburgh area for the first time in my life when I moved to Wisconsin, which was a massive adjustment. In early February, I was offered a full-time position with the Cincinnati Reds as the team's manager of media relations. I started with Cincinnati on February 19, working four days at the stadium office in Cincinnati before flying out to Phoenix, Arizona on February 23, for the team's Spring Training, which will take us to March. All in all, it's been a hectic couple of weeks, months and years, but I wouldn't trade any of it. My job and the life I'm living are the epitome of a dream come true.

    Q: Please share with us some information about your family. 
    My father, Rob, attended Shaler Area and played football collegiately at Slippery Rock University. My mother Jen attended Butler Area, where she is currently a second grade teacher, and was a cheerleader at the University of Pittsburgh. My brother Brendan (SV '17) graduated from Robert Morris University in 2021 and is currently working as an assistant athletic director at Penn State Shenango. My two sisters Jordan (SV '21) and Rachel (SV '23) are enrolled at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) and Penn State University, respectively. Jordan will graduate from CCU in May, while Rachel is in the spring semester of her freshman year.

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
    Someone might be surprised to know that I have an incredibly thoughtful, yet humorous, personality. I think that during my time at SV, a lot of people viewed me as a quiet and shy kid who didn't like a lot of people or didn't have many friends. In all reality, I have an incredibly large sense of humor and a massive desire to help others, however and whenever possible. Those who are currently and have been friends with me will attest that, in order to see that true personality of mine, you just have to break me out of my shell and get me out of that comfort zone.

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally? 
    Seneca Valley enabled my growth at every single turn. An abundance of teachers I met along the way were individuals who cared about my success, both in the classroom and as a citizen in the real world. At times, it was a very rigorous and demanding task to go to school every day. Between enrolling in advanced classes, partaking in extracurricular activities (such as hockey) and having personal things happen outside of school hours, there were certainly some stressful nights. However, I could go to school almost every single day knowing that the teachers I had would look out for me and help me through any struggle. From a friendship perspective, SV has cultivated friendships that will last a lifetime. I've always been a firm believer that it's better to have a few close friends than an abundance of average friends, and I'm very grateful that the small bunch of friends I made during my time at SV are still friends today, even five years after graduating.

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?
    It's all about the people. I've heard all too much about schools, universities and workplaces where people get treated like a number or a means to an end. I'm sure there are schools out there where faculty members show up for the sake of having a job and collecting a paycheck. Seneca Valley is not like that. The faculty are people who care about their students and want them to succeed, both in school and as they graduate and move forward with their lives. I love so many people and faculty who were part of my years there, and I'll always be indebted to them and the district for being part of such a memorable set of years in my early life.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member? 
    It sounds incredibly predictable, but there are way too many to name! Mrs. Mihalik is, without question, the sweetest human being I've ever met. She would do anything to put a smile on her students' faces, and there aren't many people with a heart as generous as the one she has. Mr. Lucot is probably the funniest teacher I've ever had. You knew to expect the unexpected when you entered his classroom daily. Mr. Butschle and Mr. Richards were my teachers for various newspaper/journalism-related courses, and they helped me discover my love for that type of writing. I suppose you could say I owe them a lot of credit for where I'm at today. Ms. Christ was the cool and in-style teacher that everyone could connect to, but she was also incredibly genuine. She helped guide me through some personal struggles and dark times, and I was so excited to tell her when those struggles turned into triumphs. She was one of my biggest supporters. Last but not least, Ms. Doyle understood me in a way that no teacher ever could. I'm a complicated person - I've had a lot of battles with anxiety and feeling like I wasn't good enough from an education perspective. Despite that, she was always there to lend a hand and help when times were tough. These are a few of my favorites, but there are, without a doubt, many other teachers who played a vital role in getting me to where I'm at today.

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? We’d encourage you to recall a moment or event that had a particularly strong influence on your life.
    I'll never forget my last day as a student at Seneca Valley. It was one of those days where it took a minute to process that it was the last time you'd be in the same place as the same 600+ people that you'd seen five days a week for the past number of years. It was a culmination of many years of hard work and building incredible friendships, yet it was one of those bittersweet moments that you sit back and reflect on, even years removed from the day.

    Q: If you had one message for teachers or staff, what would it be?
    Keep doing exactly what you're doing. In a day in age where education may be more vital than it's ever been, be a beacon of truth and knowledge for the young, impressionable students that pass through your doors each day. I'm a firm believer that trust and respect are earned in any successful relationship or partnership. The best way to have that happen is by humanizing the classroom and making it a place where students WANT to come and learn every day, not a place where they HAVE to come and learn every day.

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?
    I hope that people know Seneca Valley is a place that you can be proud to call your own, both when you're there and once you've moved on.

    I've had friendships forged and preserved, thanks to Seneca Valley. I've had teachers that still stay in contact with me, thanks to Seneca Valley. It's a place that's made up of incredible people and a place that I can proudly say is a massive part of the early chapters of my life's story.

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  • Alumni Q&A with Noah Reynolds, SV Class of 2019

    Posted by The Communications Department on 2/29/2024

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:

    I am now a Digital Technology Project Manager for Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of RTX (formerly Raytheon Technologies). I work with the SAP team, which is an enterprise resource planning tool that helps us to manage anything from manufacturing materials to financials. Specifically, I have worked on divestitures, alignments and infrastructure upgrades to the system over the last year since I started in January 2023, after graduating from Penn State the previous month.

    Q: Please share with us some information about your family.

    My parents, Steve and Colleen, both live in Cranberry where I grew up with my siblings Collin, Alexa and Claire.

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

    People may not know that I really enjoy cooking!

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally?

    Personally, SV gave me some incredible people who helped me learn who I wanted to be. Professionally, I was given the resources to learn about tech throughout my education.

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?

    I think the opportunities set Seneca Valley’s students up for success.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member?

    I can’t choose just one! Mrs. Mihalik was a huge mentor for me while I was in the intermediate high school; Mr. Tom Magill helped me understand the balance between working hard and playing hard; and Mrs. Krauland (Koegler) played a huge role in what I wanted to do after high school.

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? We’d encourage you to recall a moment or event that had a particularly strong influence on your life.

    My favorite memory of SV was winning the D2 PUHL Championship with the ultimate frisbee team. Being just the second year of the program at Seneca Valley, it was a huge accomplishment to have such a dominant team. I am still friends with several of the guys from the team, as well as Coach Dane!

    Q: If you had one message for teachers or staff, what would it be?

    I would tell teachers to continue encouraging students to find what they love. Without their guidance and support, I am not sure I would be in the field I am.

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?

    I wish people knew how awesome the students, faculty and staff are!

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  • Alumni Q & A with Denny Davidson, SV Class of 1968

    Posted by Morgan Waag on 1/31/2024

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:
    I am the proprietor of a landscaping service.

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
    That, at my age, I am very physically active and work full time! I am blessed to be very healthy! Denny davidson

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally? 
    The first principal of the Intermediate High School when it opened in 1964, (the late) Mr. Frank Adamcyk, taught me to be respectful and well-disciplined.

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?
    The Seneca Valley school buildings were always well kept, clean and a great atmosphere to learn and grow. 

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member? 
    SV coach (the late) Mr. David Wiegand

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? We’d encourage you to recall a moment or event that had a particularly strong influence on your life.
    My favorite memories were playing football and participating in Track and Field. I was a first-string WPIAL wide receiver and also a MAC first-string player. DD2

    Q: If you had one message for teachers or staff, what would it be?
    I would like to thank all my teachers and coaches for guiding me to success. 

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?
    Seneca Valley has a great reputation for providing learning opportunities, especially in today's technology-driven world! 

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  • Alumni Q & A with Jeremy Boren, SV Class of 1999

    Posted by Morgan Waag on 12/20/2023

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:
    I'm loving life as a new dad! My wife Megan and I welcomed our son Remy in 2022 and recently relocated from Pittsburgh to the Mars area to be closer to family. Professionally, I work in the marketing department of GrayMatter, an industrial technology company that has clients and offices across the U.S. and Canada.JB

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
    I wasn't interested in sports in high school, but in my 20s and 30s I became very involved in distance running, weight training and rock climbing (bouldering, sport climbing and traditional climbing). I've completed four marathons, more than a dozen half-marathons, a few trail races and too many 5Ks and 10Ks to count. I've climbed outdoors in West Virginia, New York, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Tennessee, Nevada and Montana, and had the opportunity to work part time as a climbing guide, often taking people on their first outdoor climbing experience. Jeremy Boren

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally? 
    I was really interested in journalism as a Seneca Valley student and I stuck with it. I made journalism my career after high school. That course took me on some great adventures and taught me a lot about politics, business and leadership. I credit the dedication of teachers such as Deborah Kennedy, Susan Stephenson, Tracey O'Toole, Patricia Ruzga, Louis Nagy, Tim Hall and Gary Lisica, among many others, with helping me to find a career path as I went from high school to college at Ohio University and later Carnegie Mellon University.

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?
    SV offered a fantastic array of extracurricular activities such as SVTV, The Seneca Scout, Academic Games and yearbook. The teachers who supported those groups were amazing, and they made Seneca Valley stand out from other high schools.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member? 
    I've mentioned a few already, but Deborah Kennedy was a great mentor, coach and teacher to me. The ability to study newspaper writing, design and production during and after class was extremely valuable to me.

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? We’d encourage you to recall a moment or event that had a particularly strong influence on your life.
    In SVTV we would broadcast news coverage of the prom like it was Oscar night. I think I went to three proms, and they were all a blast. It was a real taste of live TV production. The only way to experience it is by doing it, and if you get to do it in high school like I did, pretty much every other public speaking role later in life will seem tame by comparison.

    Q: If you had one message for teachers or staff, what would it be?
    Thank you for your hard work. We need more teachers and public education professionals in the world. Both of my parents spent their careers in public education at school districts in Western Pennsylvania, and I couldn't be prouder of them. It's work that truly matters, more than ever, to our society and to our country. You're needed, and I'm grateful for what you do every day.

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?
    Seneca Valley has been investing in excellent teachers and state-of-the-art facilities since my time there in the late 1990s. There are new people moving to the area all the time, so I think it's worth it for those families to know that the district realized the value of integrating technology into its curriculum early on and continues to do so with facilities like Ehrman Crest.

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  • Alumni Q & A with EJ Eyles, SV Class of 2001

    Posted by The Communications Department on 11/30/2023

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:
    I am the owner of a steel building construction company, Revere Steel. I have been in the steel industry since 2011. I enjoy spending time with my family, riding my motorcycles and being a car enthusiast. Eyles 1

    Q: Please share with us some information about your family. 
    I live in Forward Township with my wife Mallory Eyles (who works at Seneca Valley) of 11 years and our 8-year-old daughter Harper who is in third grade at Ehrman Crest Elementary. Shortly after moving into our home, we bought the farm across the street where my dad now lives.

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
     I am restoring an early 1900s bank barn at our farm.

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally? 
    Seneca Valley taught me to persevere through difficult times. Throughout my time at SV, my guidance counselors supported my non-traditional path to success. They met with me often and helped me to tailor my future to my goals post-graduation. 

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?
    Seneca Valley is large, and I was exposed to people from all walks of life. SV gave me diverse learning opportunities that I don’t think I would have had at a small school.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member? 
    Mr. Ceh, who was the Dean of Students during my time in high school. He gave me the tough love I needed at the time. Now, my wife works closely with him, and I hear of the positive impact he continues to have on students as the principal. Eyles

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? We’d encourage you to recall a moment or event that had a particularly strong influence on your life.
    Something very memorable to me, which had a large impact on my life, is when the Dodge Daytona car was parked in front of the school as a symbol and reminder to drive safely and that young lives can be easily lost due to reckless acts. Ever since then, I have enjoyed participating in things like various professional driving schools. I enjoy driving all types of vehicles on racetracks and have always had a strong sense of driver safety.

    Q: If you had one message for teachers or staff, what would it be?
    Life is what you make of it. Sometimes it will take some students longer to find their way. Don’t count them out. Help them find their passion even if it doesn’t seem like a typical path. 

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?
    Despite the large number of students, each school has a small-town feel. You will never meet a more committed group of educators. I am thankful that I can raise my daughter in this district. 

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  • Alumni Q & A with Alexandra Todd, SV Class of 2009

    Posted by The Communications Department on 10/31/2023

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:
    I am a news reporter for KDKA CBS Pittsburgh! I am so excited to join a fabulous team of talented journalists at such an iconic and historic station. Alexandra Todd

    I graduated from New York University and earned my master's degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago.

    I spent the past two years working as a weekday morning anchor at Dakota News Now KSFY in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I also received an Eric Sevareid Award from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association for my feature story on a Sioux Falls hairstylist creating a safe place for adopted children in
    the community.

    While at Northwestern, I worked as an anchor and video reporter on “Chicago This Week” and hosted a segment on arts and entertainment called “A & E with Alexandra T” on CAN TV. I also created and produced a mini-documentary, “Heart and Soul,” about the impact of Chicago street art during the pandemic, as well as an explainer video called “Pittsburghese” on my hometown with 69K views.

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
    I have traveled to 34 countries!

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally?
    Seneca Valley helped me learn how important balance is—with school work and time, with friends and family. I learned the importance of getting things done promptly and learning how to do your best work.

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?
    There are so many avenues to find yourself as a young person. Whether it is through a great teacher or mentor, finding life-long friends or choosing different activities to grow and challenge yourself, SV has options for everyone.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member?
    Mr. Sample, Advanced Placement (AP) US History teacher. Alexandra Todd

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? We’d encourage you to recall a moment or event that had a particularly strong influence on your life.
    There are so many memories from middle school and high school at Seneca Valley that I hold dear, like chorus trips, being part of the musicals, cross country and art classes. Overall, I am still best friends with the core group of girls I met on the first day at SV. I cherish those friendships more than anything and am so excited to be back home to see them again.

    Q: If you had one message for teachers or staff, what would it be?
    Thank you for all of your hard work shaping and educating the youth of SV!

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?
    Seneca Valley is a great place to grow on your educational journey! It is big enough that you can find yourself and make mistakes while also participating in new endeavors and activities.

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  • Alumni Q & A with Alex Karika, SV Class of 2012

    Posted by The Communications Department on 9/29/2023

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today: 
    I am a naval aviator (pilot). I fly helicopters, specifically the MH-60S (the Navy's version of the Army Blackhawk). I am currently stationed at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island in San Diego, California, and my squadron is called Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Pacific. My current role is a Weapons and Tactics Officer (WTI). I help instruct and evaluate fleet pilots in all MH-60S mission sets and advanced helicopter tactics.

    Q: Please share with us some information about your family. 
    My parents now live in Charleston, South Carolina, and my sister lives in Philadelphia. They continue to support me every day, and I am so grateful and thankful for them. 

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you? 
    I have an orange kitten named Theodore who is the exact orange cat stereotype. I love him dearly. 

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally? 
    Seneca Valley taught me many lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life. I was a varsity athlete my entire time at Seneca Valley, and that contributed to many of the life lessons I learned. A few that stick out to me are time management, discipline, communication and perseverance. Balancing both academics and athletics can be challenging, but finding a healthy way to do both is truly a blessing. 

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow? 
    I think Seneca Valley does a great job of providing a wonderful atmosphere for learning and growing. There are so many different opportunities for students to get involved in extracurriculars. And, of course, the school spirit can’t be beat.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/ SV staff member? 
    I had too many amazing staff members to just list one. I am very grateful for all my coaches and teachers. They truly helped me in many ways. Whether it was explaining a math problem differently so it made sense to my brain or teaching me a new skill on the court and helping me perfect it, they were always there and willing to put in extra time where needed. 

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? We’d encourage you to recall a moment or event that had a particularly strong influence on your life
    My favorite memories at Seneca Valley were my home games for both volleyball and basketball. I loved the school spirit that came with playing in your home gym. Not to mention, the games made all the practices (even the tough ones!) worth it.

    Q: If you had one message for teachers and staff, what would it be? 
    Thank you for everything you do! You make a difference in many lives, and your impact really creates a lasting impression.

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  • Alumni Q & A with Shane Raible, SV Class of 2018

    Posted by Communications Department on 8/31/2023 7:00:00 AM

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today: Shane Raible

    After completing internships with Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm and Aspinity, I graduated from the University 
    of Pittsburgh and moved to San Diego to work as a firmware engineer at Qualcomm in the Wireless R&D group (and to enjoy California!).

    Q: Please share with us some information about your family. 

    I have two brothers, Nic and Adam, that also graduated from Seneca Valley in 2017 and 2021.

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

    I’ve driven cross-country three times (so far).

    Shane Raible

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally?

    Personally, there are so many great people in the district and nothing helped me become the person I am today more than them. Professionally, the STEM classes (and teachers) laid a great foundation for first-year engineering classes at my university. I felt like I had a leg up on some of the other students with topics I  was exposed to at SV, like programming classes, which did a better job of teaching programming than a lot of the intro classes at my university. The Leadership and Career Development class was a huge help – the lessons on interviewing and resume building really stuck as I began applying and interviewing for positions in my field.

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?

    The teachers and school community make SV a special place to learn and grow. I met many of my closest friends at Seneca, and the teachers made it an enjoyable place to learn. Their enthusiasm for their subjects made even the classes I wasn’t that interested in very enjoyable. Teachers would go out of their way to create opportunities and foster interest in their subjects. For programming courses, Mrs. Koegler went out of her way to find opportunities outside of class for us to learn through programming competitions. She also got us involved in an app proposal competition at Penn State, where we got to travel and pitch our idea like a startup in front of venture capitalists (VCs), which was a different set of skills to learn for a programming class.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member? 

    That’s a hard one! I went to Seneca for K-12 and could name at least one “favorite” from every year, so I can't really say. Just like my previous answer, it was awesome having so many great teachers and I consider myself very lucky for having that experience. We also had some awesome lunch ladies and bus drivers. 

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? 

    My second and third-grade teacher, Mrs. Lintelman, organized a camping trip for the whole class to wrap up our time together at Camp Lintelman, which was her cabin-themed classroom complete with a tent and a reading tub. To top it off, she mailed us all pictures and work from our time in her class right before graduation, which was an awesome way to remember it.

    Q: If you had one message for students, what would it be?  

    Enthusiasm is key. My best memories of classes were all from teachers that enjoyed teaching the subjects they taught.

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley? 

    More people should know that Seneca Valley offers many different paths for students to take for the career path that suits them best.

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  • Alumni Q & A with Allison Schwartz, SV Class of 2020

    Posted by The Communications Department on 5/31/2023

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:

    I am entering my fourth year in the five-year Bachelor of Architecture program at Syracuse University (SU) with a minor in Sustainable Construction Management from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. My education has involved studying abroad for a semester in the SU London program while studying short-term in other European cities like Madrid, Bergen, Lockerbie, Copenhagen and, soon-to-be, Florence. I am currently in Budapest, Hungary waiting to travel to the SU Florence campus for an Italian language course and an architecture internship this summer. Schwartz Paris

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

    Even though I present design ideas, proposals and concepts nearly every day in architecture school during studio, I used to be (and sometimes still get) severely anxious about public speaking!

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally?

    I had many opportunities to explore my interests in high school after coming to Seneca Valley in seventh grade. I started entertaining the idea of pursuing architecture by taking a course with Mr. Mileski during my junior year. Later that same year, I was accepted into the ACE Externship Program and was able to observe meetings between the architecture firm CannonDesign and the Seneca Valley School Board. I sat in on design presentations and deliberations and got a sense of client interactions. We even visited the firm’s office in Pittsburgh and engaged in a design charrette. Speaking with a variety of students, educators and professionals involved in the process leveraged conversations as a form of learning and collaboration -- an introduction to the primary way personal growth has occurred for me at Syracuse. Matedero

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?

    I think there has been a push by Seneca to try and make sure that diverse learning styles are addressed and to make learning as enjoyable as possible. The district’s choices in the Ehrman Crest project reflect this shift. I remember the term “not institutional” coming up quite often in the meetings as well as the innovative inclusion of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s expertise in the project. This collaboration fed the idea that a place could facilitate learning and a sense of curiosity closer to spontaneous play than to standardized order. In the administrative meetings, there was a push for student, parent and teacher feedback. This persistent growth mindset pertaining to the future of the district has stayed with me as I continue to formulate my design philosophies about project users, their uses, and the existing context that surrounds a place.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member? 

    I have a tie between Mr. Lavelle and Mr. Ruggeri from my first year of high school. Both of their teaching styles worked extremely well for me. I remember looking forward to each of their classes and having a lot of fun while learning during the transition from middle to high school. They also came as a duo, so it would be wrong to pick between the two! stockholm

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? 

    For my Woman in Engineering class with Mr. Fortunato, we took a field trip to some of the businesses in Pittsburgh that focused on ideas of sustainability. One of the businesses was the creative reuse center, Construction Junction (CJ). There were many historic objects and reusable building supplies for sale. The most interesting part of the visit was seeing the Carnegie Mellon University student-fabricated Project RE_ space. It was like an exhibition classroom made entirely out of wooden chairs. I was mesmerized by how the shape of the chairs was lost and revitalized into a new spatial effect. Pieces of chair legs camouflaged themselves as light fixtures while the backs and seats turned into worktables and wall finishes. The space was designed and crafted with so much detail and ingenuity that I left highly inspired by design fabrication. This visit also had an influence on my choice of minor in Sustainable Construction Management, thinking about the life cycle of objects. I have also visited and worked at CJ multiple times since then. It is an amazing place. 

    Q: If you had one message for teachers or staff, what would it be?

    Math was difficult for me in high school. I was moved out of AP before the start of high school under the impression that I was not good enough to reach the goals that I had set for college. My message would be a major thank you to my teachers, especially in math, for helping me to deprogram this belief of inadequacy I had in myself and for giving me the space to engage with projects that better suited my own personal goals. Seneca Valley is a school filled with diverse interests, so I think an effort should be made to increase awareness of students’ creative pursuits. I remember hearing self-proclamations, “I am not smart” from students not in AP while making beautiful art, learning a trade, or partaking in another activity independent from standards of excellence created by AP culture. This issue is not limited to Seneca Valley, but I think teachers and staff play a major role in addressing this stigma. 

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?

    Seneca Valley really does have a lot to offer its students. I thought it was the most amazing thing to be able to plot my plan drawings while making blueprints in my architecture course and then run to the art room across the hall to work on my colored pencil drawings. I remember presenting design concepts for the tentative mindfulness space in my class on interior design to teachers I had in middle school and then running to the engineering suite to finish painting pieces of an installation at the bell. I had extra help from Mr. Mileski to visualize and 3D print a phone case using AutoCAD because, why not? In junior year, I learned how much I love project-based work and my preference for working with my hands. This occurred at the intersection of numerous opportunities constantly presented to us students.

    Q: This question is being asked because the 22-23 school year marks the 25th year of SV’s Senior/Graduation Project. What did you present during your Senior/Graduation Project and what did you learn from it?

    I performed a violin piece at Batavia Studio’s Annual Showcase for my senior project. It was an instrument I had always wanted to play but was difficult to fit into my schedule amongst the other instruments and competitive dance I participated in. Reflecting today on my final report, this project taught me that learning new skills and the basics of something is also valuable. I got on stage and played a song just “good enough.” The most important thing was that I had fun in the process of learning instead of focusing on all the ways in which my technique was not “perfect;" an idea that I have learned to appreciate even more in college. 

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  • Alumni Q & A with Charles Lisella, SV Class of 2017

    Posted by The Communications Department on 4/27/2023

    Q: Catch us up. Tell us what you’re doing today:
    Currently, I am a Senior Music Education Major at Westminster College with a focus in trumpet and will be finishing up my time soon with my recital and student teaching. After that, I plan to find a job teaching music so I can influence and teach the future musicians in our schools. Then, later getting a Master in Music Ed., Performance or Conducting.

    Q: Please share with us some information about your family.
    My older Sister Gabrielle Lisella, SV Grad ’15, is the Events Marketing Communication Manager at Carnegie Science Center. My whole family enjoys the arts. Sometimes all of us sing and play music together in our makeshift studio in the basement with the many guitars, trumpets and pianos we have.

    Q: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
    I joined a social fraternity in college and have held positions as the House Manager, Alumni Chair and Philanthropy Chair in Phi Kappa Tau and Interfraternity Council (IFC) President.

    Q: How did Seneca Valley help you become the person you are today, both personally and professionally?
    All the organizations I was in helped me stay organized and experience what it would be like to be a busy student and still be able to manage my commitments outside of school. Personally, my life in music has been directly linked to how I was taught and how I want to teach.

    Q: What do you think makes Seneca Valley such a special place to learn and grow?
    The tradition and excellence of teachers preparing students for their (in my case musical) careers, makes Seneca Valley a special place to learn.

    Q: Who was your favorite teacher/coach/SV staff member?
    Mr. Bob Babick, my trumpet teacher from seventh grade until I graduated, taught me so much and helped me grow as a musician and transition from high school to becoming an independent musician. We play in a band together now in New Castle during the summer. He’s a great mentor.

    Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seneca Valley? 

    I would say that when I was awarded the National Choral Award at my last concert at Seneca Valley was my favorite memory. That truly stood for what I aspire to be: a dedicated and passionate musician.

    Q: If you had one message for students, what would it be?
    Don’t let those who are jealous of you, or who don’t believe in your abilities, stop you from your dream. As long as you have a strong will to do it and earn it, you can accomplish anything in your life.

    Q: What do you wish other people knew about Seneca Valley?
    I want people to know how valuable of a music department we have. I can say there is nothing like being in the Seneca Valley Band, it’s a special place with a sound that always rings in my memories.

    Q: This question is being asked because the 22-23 school year marks the 25th year of SV’s Senior/Graduation Project. What did you present during your Senior/Graduation Project and what did you learn from it?
    I designed and built a Fourth of July float to promote my Boy Scout Troop (399) in Evans City and scouting. I showed the process of getting building materials, designing the float and planning how to partake in the parade. I learned how to manage a work plan over many months, schedule and correspond with the Rotary Club and Boy Scout Troop to communicate to everyone about the event. I have been an assistant scoutmaster in my troop since 2017 and have been actively doing that for six years.

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