Trib honors Outstanding Young Citizens at New Kensington banquet

April 19, 2018 GMT

Greater Latrobe Senior High School senior Marianna Schrack and Vincentian Academy senior Thomas Ik-Hyun Kim each received a $5,000 scholarship Wednesday during Trib Total Media’s annual Outstanding Young Citizen Awards banquet at the Quality Inn in New Ken­sington.

The awards, presented by Trib Total Media with support from sponsor the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, recognize 100 top students from 97 area schools for their achievements in and out of the classroom. The Trib received 533 nominations this year.

Schrack has been on the high honor roll at her school and is in the National Honor Society. She is involved in extracurricular activities including the outdoor leadership program Outdoor Odyssey, Big Brothers Big Sisters, marching band and mock trial/law club.

She plans to attend Roberts Wesleyan College in New York and double-major in social work and international relations, with a minor in English for speakers of other languages. She hopes to join the Peace Corps after college.

She was overjoyed to receive the scholarship.

“It’s going to make a really huge difference,” she said. “That was my biggest concern when I went and chose my college was just being able to pay for it.”

Kim is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the National Latin Exam Gold Medal. He has competed in the American Mathematics Competition and was a qualifier for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam. He has worked as a guide for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, a mentor and coach of a math olympiad summer camp at Hosack Elementary School in the North Allegheny School District and a volunteer with the Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh.

Kim plans to major in computational biology to research and develop a mechanism to better support advancement of treatment options for rare diseases.

Kim said he is honored to receive the scholarship.

“I was actually really worried about the amount of money because college is expensive, books are expensive,” he said. “Being able to have this scholarship really makes a difference.”

Ten other area high school students were honored with gold medals for their achievements:

• Colin Aikins, a senior at Central Catholic High School, has placed on the high honor roll since he was a freshman. He has been offered early acceptance into the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Juilliard School in New York City. He has raised more than $3,000 for local charities through an organization he started called Music with a Mission, which raises money by recording and selling CDs.

• Rajan Alagar, a homeschooled senior with Pittsburgh Milliones, is a National Merit semifinalist and AP Scholar with Distinction Award winner. He also received The Congressional Award, Gold Medal, which is the highest award given to youth by Congress. He has spent more than 1,200 hours volunteering with Free Homework Help Pittsburgh, a tutoring service he co-founded.

• Garison Andolina, a senior at Greensburg Salem High School, has been awarded the Greensburg Salem Hockey Academic Award. He has received Congressional nominations to the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy. He is a firefighter with Forbes Road Volunteer Fire Department and has completed 130 hours of training. He’s also a member of the Greensburg Salem High School Varsity Ice Hockey team.

• Alexandra Borelli, a senior at Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy, is a Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science first-place award winner. She has volunteered 450 hours at Locust Grove Senior Living Memory Care Unit, where she assisted geriatric individuals with daily living activities, managed recreational activities and provided companionship to residents.

• Alison Huffman, a senior at Southmoreland High School, has ranked first in her class of 2018 since ninth grade. She is the co-founder of Arithmakick, a program developed to help combat summer learning loss for fourth- and fifth-grade students. The program meets once a week in the summer and combines soccer skills and math concepts to make math fun.

• Jillian Palko, a senior at Serra Catholic High School, has placed on the high honor roll all four years of high school and was awarded the Women in Science Day Award from Seton Hill University Excellence in Chemistry in 2016. She volunteers with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and crochets lap robes for patients at Three Rivers Hospice.

• Helen Paulini, a senior at Fox Chapel Area High School, is the recipient of the National Emperor Science Award, which gave her the opportunity to conduct research, work alongside and be mentored by a doctor in a medical oncology lab in the summer of 2016. She volunteers to bring science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, to students around the Pittsburgh area.

• Christopher Potter, a senior at Greater Latrobe Senior High School, is a member of the National Honor Society. He has received the Lisle M. Ryan Leadership Co-Recipient Award, Youth Service America and Newman’s Own Foundation Award for Everyday Young Hero and Points of Light Gold Medal Award for Public Service. He designed and implemented a lunch garden for his school and is an Eagle Scout.

• Rhys Rocher, a senior at Pine-Richland High School, is a recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and the Prudential Spirit of Community Service Award. He has logged more than 550 hours of community service helping children with special needs through organizations such as the iCanShine Bike Camp, BLOOM Camp at the Woodlands and as a junior coach with the Steel City Icebergs.

• Cassandra Schiffhauer, a senior with Montour High School, has had a 4.0 GPA since her freshman year. She is a recipient of the Change Agents Students Working For Social Justice award, which includes a $10,000 grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation for her work to break the stigma surrounding mental health and create a space for students to decompress during school hours at her high school.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680, emilybalser@tribweb.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.