Girls’ Basketball Making Their Way to Playoffs

By Emma Helmick

The girls mid-game against Highlands. Photo Courtesy: Bri Campagna.

The Lady Lions go onto the court with one thing on their minds: playoffs.

“I am really happy with this year’s team,” Girls’ Basketball Coach Rick Klimchock said. “We are very engaged in what we do each day. We have great leadership and an outstanding culture. I appreciate our staff and all of our players.”

The players practice using many drills. Cycles is a drill to help them with game like scenarios and determine their positions in the game.

“I think we are able to make it far and I think we all desperately want it to be a good season,” junior Ashlan Price said. “Every game is hard, but we all push through to make it through the game, win or lose.”

The girls are currently on a losing streak, but they still have time left in the season to make a difference.

“The varsity team is good,” Price said. “We have a lot to work on, but we all want to be better. We all look to improve our game individually and as a team.”

With each game all kinds of different strategies can be used. The players need to be prepared for anything to happen on the court.

The JV team in a huddle discussing what to do next. Photo courtesy: Josselyn Blawas.

“The JV girls are very willing to learn from the varsity, they always play hard against us in practice and work hard in their games,” she said.

The JV team can use the examples that they are learning from the Varsity players to improve their skills and push themselves further in the future.

“My expectation for the end of the season is to make it further than we did last year,” sophomore Blessing Gantt said. “JV had a tough year last year. Varsity secured a playoff spot when we beat Gateway at home, but our first playoff game was really tough because we were scheduled to play South Fayette who went on to win it all. I believe we can make it further this year.”

Last year the team was in a 5A section and played against teams such as McKeesport, Woodland Hills and Latrobe. This year they dropped down to 4A, but still play against many tough teams.

“Our culture on the team is strong and Coach makes sure to tell us that every day,” Gantt said.

The players have spent months practicing together to build strong connections and friendships with each other.

“One thing we never do is quit,” Price said. “Whether we are winning or losing, we always keep our chin up and play our hardest until the last whistle. We can take pride in that.”

GS Students Win Regional Kennametal Competition

By Ari Case

Will Thomas, Taylor Werts and Lexi Mutchler posing with their winning project. Photo courtesy: Mrs. Harper.

On January 5, three GS teams competed against seven other teams at the Kennametal Facility in Latrobe, and two teams placed in the top three for points.

Through the Kennametal Young Engineers Program (KYEP), students from several schools in the area are given the opportunity to work with real-world engineering problems and professional engineers themselves. The hands-on tasks in class involve research, problem solving, design and building.

“The Kennametal Young Engineers program is an opportunity sponsored by [the] Kennametal Corporation in Latrobe that allows students to delve into the world of engineering and gain skills that are necessary for that and other careers,” science teacher Mrs. Cheryl Harper said.

Many skills can be learned through the class, in the classroom and at KYEP sessions.

“There’s the opportunity to connect with current engineers and [to] work on resume skills [and] leadership skills,” Mrs. Harper said. “And as the students work on their projects throughout the semester, there are a lot of group projects where they have to be organized and communicative and such throughout.”

Ashley Smith and Patrick Galvin beside their design. Photo courtesy: Mrs. Harper.

The team tactics and connections built can be extremely beneficial for any student, and in addition to these general skills, students learn engineering principles and gain understanding of processes and problems in the engineering field.

According to Harper, the class “isn’t just for students interested in engineering,” at all.

Several KYEP participants over the six years of the program have been completely uninterested in pursuing a career in engineering, but benefitted from the class greatly, nonetheless.

“It can be a deciding factor as to whether that’s really what you want to do,” Harper said. “But some people enter the class without any desire to do engineering. They just want a hands-on class that is relevant and allows them to work closely with others in a group setting. It certainly is an experience that can be expanded upon.”

Other students, though, are bound for the engineering field.

“I plan on doing aeronautical engineering through the Air Force,” senior Emily King said. “I’ve been interested in engineering for a very long time. [I] just never had the opportunity for [a] hands-on experience.”

Cole Willcox, Emily King, Ethan Telford and Bri Campagna standing proudly as a team. Photo courtesy: Mrs. Harper.

This year, three teams of students have been working for almost three months to create contraptions to aim and launch ping pong balls. This may sound like a simple task, but there are specifications and restraints that make it complex to design.

King is a member of the group that placed 3rd in the competition by points. Their design involved a motor blowing air through adjustable PVC pipes that shot out the ping pong balls. She was responsible for the computer-aided design (CAD) throughout the process.

In addition to presenting the actual build at the competition, each team had to create a binder with detailed entries and diagrams following the entire process.

“With the binders, it was pretty stressful because it made everyone contribute,” senior Lexi Mutchler said. “It wasn’t just one person’s job. [And it] was a lot of hours outside of school.”

Cole and Ethan putting their technical skills to use in the STEM lab. Photo courtesy: Mrs. Harper.

Mutchler was the leader of the 1st place group. They created a “caveman-like” design with a golf club and elastic band. Though they had less power to make it the longest distance, the accuracy was higher than any other team.

Harper said that the work required for the binders showed “incredible professional growth” for every student.

Each team had strengths and weaknesses, and varying successes and failures along the way.

“I won’t forget the shock we had when we actually made it into the cup,” King said.

Mutchler’s team also wasn’t expecting the success they had. There were some disappointments as well.

“For our project, we couldn’t make the five meters,” she said. “We made it to four meters, but that’s it. That’s the only disappointing thing; it couldn’t go as far as it should have.”

A team working together to put together their project. Photo courtesy: Mrs. Harper.

King’s team encountered an issue with their cooling fan shortly into the competition that set them back a bit. Before this, though, there were some hiccups throughout the development process.

“I think our group kind of forgot about all that was required [until] the last week before it was due,” King explained. “So, we were running around and worried it wasn’t [going to] get done. So maybe if we worked on more time management, and just making sure we check everything off that checklist, we would have been on better footing.”

Despite these regrets, both felt they truly benefitted from the experience.

“In the end, though, it felt really good [because] seeing all of our hard work pay off it felt so good to see them work,” Mutchler said.

There was one thing both agreed upon fully: Harper was the reason for their success.

“Without her I don’t think I would have had the self-discipline or self-responsibility to get everything done that needed done,” King said.

A Warm Meal with a Touch of Art

By Ksena Spencer

Eden Wilson and Neela Narrison serving soup to the guests. Photo courtesy: Ella Henry.

As the weather gets cold again, hot soup was provided at GS’ Souper Bowl night.

Senior Ella Petrosky helped to organize and put together Souper Bowl night as her senior project. Petrosky took an interest in this idea when she and pottery teacher Mrs. Kelley Audia talked last year about making this idea into an actual event.

“I went into the Pottery 1 classes and taught them how to make what’s called a slab bowl and helped construct them,” Petrosky said.

This event was a fundraiser in which soup was sold. For every cup of soup purchased, people got to take a homemade bowl made from pottery classes in GS.

At the same time as the Souper Bowl, the annual AP Art Show also took place. It has been an annual tradition held in the library at GS. This year it marks the 15th anniversary of the display.

A view of some of the exhibits for the AP art show. Photo by Emily Frazier.

“My AP Art class exhibits their entire art portfolio which contains a concentration series- as well as their best work created throughout their high school career,” Mrs. Audia said.

People throughout GS’ community and parents of the students who have art displayed in the art show were able to see the exhibits and buy bowls made by other pottery classes.

Soup was sold for $6 and anyone who bought soup received a handmade bowl to take home.

The money raised from Souper Bowl night went to GS’ The Giving Tree.

Panera baguettes were also served alongside the soup. Photo by Emily Frazier.
Behind the counter of the serving area. Photo courtesy: Ella Henry.

The event only had 50 bowls and 50 servings of donated soup from Panera Bread.

The bowls donated to this event varied in colors, shapes, patterns, designs and other materials.

“The pottery classes made different bowls with beautiful designs to sell at this event,” senior Sejah Franklin said.

Mrs. Audia estimated 10 bowls were made by last year’s pottery class, 10 were made by her and the last 30 were made by this year’s Pottery 1 class.

FCCLA organized getting the soup and volunteered alongside the Art Honors Society in running this event. They distributed soup and sold the handmade bowls.

“I’m hoping to gain some more [publicity for] our FCCLA club in the high school and get our name out there so people know that we are willing to help wherever we can,” Franklin said.

The Souper Bowl was an opportunity for people in the GS community to get together and enjoy talents from art students as well as raise money for the Giving Tree.

“Souper Bowl is an event that brings people together,” Franklin said.

Martin Luther King Jr., the Man Who Began a Revolution

By Mia Saraceni

A stone statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, DC. Photo by Mia Saraceni.

A resurgence of hate and violence has butted its ugly head into the United States, forcing a call to action being made across the country.

Racism has been an issue from the very birth of the nation, with the 1950-60s being one of the most prolific periods due to its revolutionary ideas and leaders, forcing a halt to segregation and judgement.

So, who or what allowed for such an impactful change?

Almost 60 years after segregation was officially ended in the United States by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a man is still being celebrated and commended for his work to help the brutal battle.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the face of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and has maintained a world-famous status for his immense impact and speeches.

Dr. King was a Baptist minister, following in the footsteps of his father and he even worked with him for a period of time.

King got his start in activism, though, in 1955 when he joined the Montgomery bus boycott, the same one political activist Rosa Parks was arrested for.

The boycott ultimately led to segregation on buses being banned, but that wasn’t enough for King; he had a mission to end segregation and obtain equality completely.

Being a minister certainly helped him in his mission, as he was used to writing long and heartfelt sermons, all centered around love and peace.

High school history teacher Ms. Lucy Iapalucci is one of the millions of people who admire King for his activism, sharing her personal view of all that he did.

“MLK exposed the ugliness of race hatred,” Ms. Iapalucci said. “He opened up the eyes of America and showed them that laws do not change behavior. His actions, words and deeds show how simple it is to be kind to each other.”

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is arguably what he is most known for, and it bares the truth of what was going on in America at the time, which is just what Iapalucci was referencing.

The speech is riddled with King’s hopes, detailing a country full of love and acceptance, but also his own personal struggles with racism.

“He not only wanted to protect his peers and family members, but he wanted to protect all black people across the country,” senior Geneva Brookins said. “He fought for every race to be together treating each other like brother and sister.”

King was an all-around revolutionary, but his life was cut short by an assassin in 1968.

“He lost his life protecting ours,” Brookins said.

King left a legacy that was felt by all Americans, no matter the color of their skin.

“His courage and leadership inspire others to live with respect and change the course of history,” Iapalucci said. “We respect his life by showing empathy to others and honoring diversity. We can learn from our differences.”

His ideas were those unheard of and unspoken, but the fear of what might happen never scared him away from making lasting change.

People today honor him by celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday to celebrate his birthday, which is observed on the third Monday of January.

The impact he had on the country is too great to be written into word, but he made sure everyone who was being unfairly judged had someone in their corner fighting for change.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” King wrote in his book Strength to Love. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

GS Follows the Trend of Online Testing for the Keystones

By Emily Frazier

A countdown that was in the lobby as a reminder for students. Photo by Emily Frazier.

GS took on the Keystone exams with a more modernized approach, for the district opted to do them online.

The Keystones are a state-required assessment that determines students’ proficiency in literature, algebra, and science.

“Teachers use the data to find growth from year to year,” guidance counselor Mrs. Laura Klipa said. “There’s a whole lot of information that comes out of that. It shows you exactly what skill sets students are proficient in or need remediated in.”

Students take the exams for federal accountability which helps low-performing schools improve their academic performance. Through the results of the exams, schools can see what they need to do to guide students towards meeting the state standards.

“[It’s] like a basic measure of competency,” Mrs. Klipa said.

Students who don’t achieve a proficient score are expected to remediate and retest. The catch is that students scoring 4452 between the three with no scores below basic move on as well, so a consistent effort can show results.

“The Act 158 is a state requirement, and the first way to meet that graduation requirement is to pass the Keystones,” Klipa said. “In some students, it is difficult for them depending on levels of ability. So, then they give you other ways to do it.”

For those who struggle to pass or opted out of taking the test, there are other ways to prove you’re ready, such as acceptance into a four-year college, excelling at CWCTC or meeting the NCAA requirements.

Some students were more comfortable and had no worries going into the tests, for they felt well ready from their classes.

“I felt pretty prepared, and it was pretty easy and all,” sophomore Elanor Swanson said. “It was mostly the reading that was hard.”

Unlike in the past, the Keystones were taken online. Students used their school-issued laptops. Many precautions were taken so that no problems would occur during testing.

“It’s the trend to push towards paperless,” Klipa said. “There’s lots of tools on there.”

Whether this method of testing is successful or not is up to the students’ preferences.

“I did not like it all,” Swanson said. “It was more difficult to stay focused for me because it was like you’re just looking at the screen for hours. I find it easier to do it on paper, and you can write stuff out easier and jot things down.”

Some prefer to have a physical booklet to flip through while others enjoy the option to have passages read to them through that tool.

“We figured [we’d] kind of get our feet wet there and see how it goes,” Mrs. Klipa said, “I’m interested to hear what the student feedback is on it.”

Wild Weather Strikes Again

By Luke Dinkel

The view from a ski-lift at Seven Springs. Photo by Luke Dinkel.

Over Christmas break, an Arctic cold front struck a majority of the country, bringing temperatures into the negatives and windchills of -30 degrees to town.

Moving can be a hassle on a regular day, but when Principal Mr. Adam Jones’ pipes burst a day before moving day, it turned into a catastrophe.

“I woke up at 4 in the morning to my wife screaming,” Mr. Jones said. “I ran downstairs where I was greeted by water pouring out of the ceiling onto my living room carpet, which came at the worst time since I was selling my house the next day. I knew some of my pipes had frozen the day before, but I wasn’t expecting them to burst.”

Having connections with friends and family can always come in clutch when in need.

“Since it was the day after Christmas, most plumbers weren’t working or were already busy fixing frozen pipes somewhere else,” Mr. Jones said. “Luckily, I have a friend who was willing to drop what he was doing and come help. He might have had 30 calls about other pipes bursting that day. I’m extremely thankful for all the people who came over to help my family move, even Mr. Zilli came over to help, which made everything much easier.”          

With everything freezing, it even made it difficult for some to get inside of their car, let alone drive it.

“When I went out to my car, the first thing I needed to do was clear the snow off the windshield,” junior Ryan Ebersole said. “When I went to grab the scraper out of the backseat, the door wouldn’t open, so I let the car warm up for about 10 minutes hoping that the ice on the door would melt. When I went back out, the door still wouldn’t open, so I just grabbed an extra scraper from the garage since I had to get to work.”

If a car’s rubber gaskets are dirty, the dirt and debris can prevent the car door from sealing shut. This allows moisture to seep in and freeze the door.

“It turns out the door ended up becoming frozen open,” Ebersole said. “I tried pushing it closed but it wouldn’t move. I ended up having to drive all the way to work with the car beeping because it thought the door was actually open.”

Luckily, one good thing that came out of this arctic weather was the perfect conditions at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

“Over Christmas break the conditions at Seven Springs were immaculate,” sophomore Lauryn Swierczynski said. “The majority of break there was lots of fresh snow every day, and more terrain was getting opened because of it. From the beginning to the end of break, I saw at least three new hills open.  Although the lines were extremely long, I still had a ton of fun with friends and family.”

The snow and cool weather made for the perfect Christmas climate, something that most northerners dream of every year.

“It’s perfect,” Swierczynski said. “The way the snow laid on the trees, the Christmas lights glistening off the snow was amazing. This time last year the weather was 50 degrees and rainy, it felt dreary and depressing. I don’t think we had a Christmas like this in years.”

New Year’s Resolutions

By Brianna Campagna

As the clock strikes midnight and the ball drops from Times Square, many feel a sense of relief and the sensation of having a clean slate.

Worldwide, many people ring in the New Year with a resolution, which people create to better oneself.

Senior Chloe Ecklund has begun her resolution by reading The Goal by Elle Kennedy.

“I plan on reading more,” Ecklund said. “[I plan on] doing that by tracking how much I read and finding more books I like.”

Cartoon by Ari Case.

Rather than planning on enhancing a skill, sophomore Lexxi Reynolds wants to restore something she once had by rekindling an old friendship.

“My resolution is to become friends with an old friend,” Reynolds said. “It’s been a couple years, but we fell off. Not for any specific reason, there was never a problem, but it was just a nice friendship and I want it back.”

Cartoon by Emily Frazier.

Reynolds has set goals to help the friendship fall back into place.

“I’m going to try to text them first and call them at least once a week just to reconnect with them,” she said.

Others take a different approach on New Year’s resolutions. Rather that setting a goal, some people choose a motto to live by.

“The word of intention is you create a word or think of a word that’s going to make you a better person throughout the whole year,” Health and Physical Education teacher Mrs. Alyssa Lukatch said.

The words of intent that Mrs. Lukatch chose this year are “present and content.”

“I struggle a lot with just being in the present moment,” Lukatch said. “We’re always focused on the future and what’s going to happen and what we should be doing. I want to focus on where I am right now and being content in the moment that I am in right now.”

Cartoon by Bri Campagna.

By the end of the year, everyone wants to have done something that changed their life for the better.

“I think words of intention, for me at least, helped me to focus on a lot of different things that I could positively change in my life,” Lukatch said.

Bah Humbug: An Opinion

By Mia Saraceni

Christmas awakens warm and fuzzy feelings for everyone. Some are filled with happiness from being with family, and others are stuffed with good food. It’s a time of joy, love and celebration.

But whose reality is that?

Homelessness in the United States has been an ever-evolving issue for years, but more notably after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

There are millions of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S, but the saddest issue of all is that approximately 1 in 6 children are homeless, which is about 11.1 million according to the 2021 census.

That might be a meek number in comparison to the country’s entire population, but those numbers are strikingly high and share a sad look into a side of American culture.

But it begs the question, why are there so many people/children living in such horrible conditions? Why hasn’t any solution been brainstormed yet?

 America, and frankly the rest of the world, has such a disdain for the homeless that they have integrated hostile anti-homeless architecture in their cities such as spikes on the ground and curved benches to prevent napping.

 There isn’t a solution, and nobody cares to come up with one; they’d rather sweep the issue under the rug and hope it solves itself.

 It’s an issue year-round, but the holidays can be an especially tough time for homeless individuals and families alike.

While we’re wrapped in blankets and enjoying the peace and tranquility of the holiday season, there are 11.1 million children who won’t get a visit from Santa because that simply just isn’t an option.

Our warm fireplaces and fuzzy socks offer us comfort, but most homeless shelters won’t even open their doors until it hits 20 degrees.

It’s forgotten that Christmas is a luxury that the majority can’t afford. It’s taken for granted entirely, and the people who are struggling the worst don’t even get a second thought.

So how do we help? If our government won’t, is there a way for the people to?

There are many charities dedicated to brightening up the lives of those less fortunate both around the holidays and every other day, such as the Salvation Army.

They offer many different programs such as bill assistance, grocery and food assistance and possibly the most heart-warming: gift/holiday parties for children of low-income families.

Samaritan’s Purse is another charity, and they focus on crafting little boxes full of school supplies, food and toys to deliver to children over the Christmas season.

People can donate to any charity that supports low-income families, and that is a bigger help than is probably known.

A bigger gripe and part of the reason surrounding the ostracization of people in poverty is the lack of human empathy some show, especially concerning items that aren’t essential for living.

There is so much shaming when someone with low-income is seen with nails or hair done, a phone, a computer or anything that is seen as a “luxury.”

This shame extends to homeless or impoverished children with toys.

There is a difference between surviving and living, and they are simply just surviving.

When someone is constantly worried about where their next meal will come from, how and if they’ll even get by and the judgement they’re facing from others who have the upper hand, they deserve to get a haircut if they want it.

The people who judge are the same people who have never experienced anything except privilege their entire lives, so there isn’t even an ounce of understanding for struggle because they just perceive it as laziness.

The holiday and its mascot are supposed to be representations of love, giving and charity, but many won’t look past their own families for this type of behavior.

The Christmas patron is Saint Nicholas, a bishop from Greece who was notorious for gift giving and charitable acts.

Should people not follow in the footsteps of the man the entire holiday is based around?

Should people not offer both acts of charity, whether that be volunteering or donating, as well as compassion and understanding?

We are all just people who are trying to wade through the muck of life, and some have just been dealt a more difficult hand than others, but that does not make them any less human.

It’s our duty as people to help those in need through whatever means we can offer, not just during the holiday season, but year-round.

Those 11.1 million children deserve to feel the same joy as the children who receive bikes and teddy bears for Christmas, and they deserve to have a holiday that isn’t just another day of struggle.

These families deserve a break, especially over a time claiming to be about peace.

Local Holiday Events

By Brianna Campagna

The holiday spirit swells the streets of Western Pennsylvania. Many local activities help to spread the winter cheer.

Overly’s Country Christmas is hosted at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds and provides a family-friendly experience with a drive-through light display and a walk-through Christmas Village. Activities such as shopping, tractor wagon rides, a winter playground and Santa’s Workshop are all presented in the village. From now until December 30th, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Overly’s is in operation. Ticket prices begin at $5 per person.

Something unique about Overly’s is that it is entirely run by volunteers. GS’ Interact Club has been volunteering in the Christmas Village for the past six years.

“Overly’s provides a fun Christmas light show that is in a family-friendly location,” senior Logan O’Brien, who volunteers yearly, said. “You can enjoy Christmas music, fun lights for the kids and they can talk to Santa about what they want for Christmas.”

Winter Lights are displayed at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art. Every night until January 29th, from dusk to 10 p.m., it is free to walk the outside perimeter of the museum. Their light display is sponsored by Luxe Creative, FirstEnergy Foundation and Penn State New Kensington.

Kennywood Holiday Lights tickets start at $19.99. Smaller rides and attractions, such as the Kangaroo, will be in operation. Shows, train displays, a petting zoo, and a Santa meet-and-greet are all included with the ticket price. A dinner with Santa add-on is available for up to $25.99.

People skating around the tree at PPG Place. Photo by Brianna Campagna.

The UPMC Rink at PPG Place is located in Pittsburgh. Ordering tickets online guarantees a day and timeslot to skate. Skate rentals can be purchased alongside the ticket but are not necessary. An adult ticket starts at $12.

Sophomore Anna Spigarelli skates for the Greensburg Figure Skating Team. She returns annually to the UPMC Rink to relive the experience.

“It’s a really fun experience,” Spigarelli said. “You can go with friends and there are shops nearby. It’s outside and there’s a huge tree.”

Carnegie Trees are displayed in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The Women’s Committee organizes this event yearly and decorates the trees with handmade ornaments. Each tree has their own theme, and they are on display from now until January 8th.

A gorgeous display of holiday flowers at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Brianna Campagna.

Dazzling Nights takes place at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Interactive lights, a 65-foot-long tunnel and a 30-foot-tall tree are at the Dazzling Lights. Until January 1st, tickets are available for purchase on their website. Ticket prices range from $12-$25 per person.

Many opportunities are available to enjoy the holidays within the community and surrounding communities.

“[The community] has increased the events amazingly over the past couple of years,” Physics teacher Mrs. Cheryl Harper said.

Local Holiday Charities This Season

By Emily Frazier

The Giving Tree

Mrs. Klipa posing beside a Christmas tree. Photo by Emily Frazier.

The GS community has come together to check off the Christmas lists of some who are less fortunate. While some have asked for a new phone or a pair of designer shoes, these students were in need of simple necessities that are often forgotten luxuries.

When guidance counselor Mrs. Laura Klipa started working for the high school, she realized there was no participation in the Giving Tree. She heard about it going on in the middle school and wanted to bring it up to the high school.

“I was thinking to myself at that point, if families were counting on that help every year and then all of a sudden you get to [the] high school, there’s nobody helping [to] give these students Christmas gifts,” Mrs. Klipa said.

This year, there were 31 students on the list to receive gifts. The guidance office contacted their families and collected the information for their requests.

The gifts accumulating for the Giving Tree. Photo by Emily Frazier.

“I’ll reach out to families, and we will ask them what their needs are and then clothing specifics,” Klipa said. “A lot of the families just need basic things. Sometimes we do canned or boxed foods. Specifically, we get requests for winter coats, clothing, scarves, hats, shoes, socks and clothing like tops and bottoms.”

Other requests include toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste and more.

“Sometimes there’s special requests,” Klipa said. “Somebody will have an interest like journaling or coloring, and they want something like that.”

More gifts ready to be delivered. Photo by Emily Frazier.

Aside from gift giving, GS has other ways to help.

“The biggest help that we’ve had in terms of student groups is the National Art Honor Society,” Klipa said. “They make the chocolate covered pretzels and that has been an ongoing donation all year long.”

By having opportunities like this to donate through the school, students are motivated to give back in the community as well. Not only during the holidays, but year-round, families are struggling, so this charity gives students a safe place to ask for help.

“Throughout the year – not just at Christmas and the holidays – we do have students that will not have food or clothing and so that gives us the opportunity to go out and buy them their needs,” Mrs. Klipa said.

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is a charity with the goal to collect new toys and deliver them to less fortunate children for Christmas. In Westmoreland County in 2021, 29,326 toys were distributed, and in Pittsburgh, 100,536 toys were distributed.

November 14 was the last day for parents to request toys and December 14 was the last day to donate toys. For a family to be eligible to receive, they had to meet certain requirements such as having children up to the age of 12 and the parents being on a form of public assistance.


A local radio station, 96.1 KISS, hosted a week-long event that helps support the Marines Toys for Tots program.

From November 28 to December 2, people were asked to bring new and unwrapped toys to the collection site in Robinson Town Centre. The toys donated were put into school buses, hence the charity name, Stuff-A-Bus. This year, 66 buses were stuffed.

To raise excitement and attract donors to the event, themed nights were planned. Some of these nights included Black and Gold Night and Touch a Truck Night. Businesses such as Burgatory and 3 River Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram supported the cause by donating the money made from purchasing snicker doodle milk shakes and giving $100 worth of toys after each test drive. People are still able to donate online.