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Gallitzin alumni present scholarships

GALLITZIN — The Gallitzin Area Alumni Association recently presented its annual scholarships.

Association history

The association started in 1951 with a small group of about 10 people. The first get-together honored and gave awards (sweaters, jackets and/or letter “G”) for academic achievement and/or sports. An alumni homecoming and awards banquet started a few years later. Eventually, the awards turned into scholarships and honoring graduates who were out of school for 50 years.

This was always held on the Sunday before Labor Day and would draw a crowd of up to 500 people at the Oriental Ballroom in Gallitzin. This would have been the association’s 70th year, and the banquet was never canceled until this year because of the pandemic. Plans are underway for the 2021 celebration.

Gallitzin’s last graduating class was 1966 and then the school became Penn Cambria.

One of the highlights of the annual homecoming was honoring the 50-year graduates as guests. This would bring a lot of graduates home to Gallitzin and their families. Thus, the banquet ranges from 150 to 250 people. The association also gives out scholarships, thanks to many alumni members donating to the scholarship fund or giving large donations (usually $10,000 or more) to honor their family name.

Last year, the association gave out 28 $1,000 scholarships, and this year, even though the association did not have its annual celebration, it gave out 17 $1,000 scholarships.

Arthur Julian is the last living member of the original alumni association and one of the main reasons it still exists today. He was instrumental in acquiring several of the bigger scholarships, keeping the organization alive. He is the last living member of his class (1944). His 94th birthday was on Sept. 1.

Last year, the Alumni Scholarship Board of Directors gave $50,000 to Saint Francis College, Loretto, in honor of Julian who retired as a professor from Saint Francis. The first scholarship in his honor was given out last year at homecoming.

Scholarship awards

This year’s scholarship recipients are listed below. Each student received $1,000.

Hunter Wagner, son of Nancy Plazek Wagner/class of 1987; Lauren Mezacapa, granddaughter of Shirley Johnston Koons/class of 1956; Madison Eyer, granddaughter of Arlene LaRue Eyer/class of 1962; Victoria Eyer, granddaughter of Arlene LaRue Eyer/class of 1962; Thomas Eyer, grandson of Arlene LaRue Eyer/class of 1962; Tyler Eckenrode, grandson of Judith Brady Stevens/class of 1962; Natalia Brown, granddaughter of Deanna Ferri Brown/class of 1962; Katavina Zerbee, granddaughter of Michael Zerbee/Penn Cambria class of 1969; Makenzie Shaugis, daughter of Amy Shevenock Shaugis/Penn Cambria class of 1991; John Kochara, grandson of Joseph Kochara/class of 1958; Julia Miller, granddaughter of Marcella Kois Pigza/class of 1954; Thomas Simpson, grandson of Carol Shyrock Larkin/class of 1965; Anthony Chverchko, grandson of Geoffrey Mazzocco/class of 1960; Jon Rodriguez, grandson of Robert Knee/class of 1960; Julia Whiting, granddaughter of Michael Sanders/class of 1960; Addison Lomax, granddaughter of Dolores Kowalczyk Bricca/class of 1960; and Jenna Petro, granddaughter of Ralph Lacorato/class of 1967.

2020 necrology report

The association also recognized deceased members who died during the past year.

They include: Victoria Fabbri Gjurich, Betty Latoche Ragogna, Evelyn Raymond Mazzocco, Ann Novak Yarrin, John Jack Lutton, Shirley Angus Plunkett, Veronica Tribulski Bosko, Rita Knee, George Shevenock, Robert Bendon, Anna Mazzetti, Daniel Vetakis, Francis Becher, Robert Shyrock, Helen Bernard Yocca, William Capotosto, Richard Regala, Ronald Lupinetti, Patsy Sorichetti, John Jack Stevens, Theresa Kroskey Feltenberger, Connie Pugh Keeley, Thomas Mikolajczyk, Carole Nicholson Mazzetti, Samuel Wilt, Gary Ball, Ronald Kowalczyk, Karen Rabish Ryan, Vernon O’Cilka and Cheryl Michaelangelo.

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