Rise to BE a Champion


Anne Dalton, Managing Editor

October kicked off Breakfast of Champions, a program that honors a select number of students each month. From October through May, breakfast is provided in the Center for Student Creativity (CSC) at the high school in recognition of students who have excelled in a particular way.

Teachers choose one student who exhibits the 40 Developmental Assets, a philosophy that shows positive experiences and qualities influence young people’s development, helping them become caring, responsible, and productive adults.  

Some of the assets include: caring school climate, community values, high expectations, youth program, achievement motivation, integrity, cultural competence, and positive view of personal future.

According to Search Institute, the research of over 5 million young people states that the more assets the young people express, the less likely they are to partake in high-risk behaviors and the more likely to make overall positive decisions.

Research shows that youth with the most assets are more likely to:

  • Do well in school
  • Be civically engaged
  • Value diversity
Research shows that youth with the most assets are least likely to have problems with:

  • Alcohol use
  • Violence
  • Illicit drug use
  • Sexual activity

Dr. Georgia Teppert, assistant principal at the time, immediately jumped on the idea. “It is such a great program to honor students who are dedicated to learning,” she said.

“Mrs. Stallings and Mrs. Vasinko committed a lot of time in the beginning of the program,” said Dr. Teppert.  Stallings and Vasinko were two of the teachers involved in the Student Assistance Program (SAP) at the time, which advises students who may need guidance or support in different circumstances.

Mr. John Andrighetti assisted greatly with the SAP Program to get the ball rolling.  From 1976 until 2005, Andrighetti served the Greater Latrobe Area School District serving as Junior High Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Senior High School Principal until his retirement in 2005.  He contributed to starting a budget for the Breakfast.

On October 18, 2018, six students were named Breakfast of Champions for the month of October.  The students were in the presence of principals John Mains, Chad Krehlik, and Jeff Ingel, faculty, staff, school board members, school administration, and their families.

The Greater Latrobe Senior High School Breakfast of Champion nominees for October stand together after being honored for their outstanding accomplishments.

Math teacher, Wendy Lint, nominated senior Cole Baughman.  Cole was a student of Mrs. Lint’s for three years and he has taken all four courses she teaches.   “I choose my champions by their ability to maintain a strong desire to put forth effort into their classwork and their dedication to doing the right thing in the classroom in regards to their classwork and their interaction with their peers,” said Mrs. Lint.  “He goes above and beyond to display the qualities that I am looking for in my choice for a champion.” He is described as always being pleasant, courteous and helpful to others, and is a great leader in and out of the classroom. Mrs. Lint stated she does not choose a champion based on their overall grade, but the amount of effort a students puts into their learning, exhibiting a positive attitude, and how they interact with other students and the faculty.

The Art department was represented by senior Ben DiFrancesco.  Lydia Mack has had Ben as a student since sophomore year. He completed two of her courses, Art History I and II.  Mrs. Mack said “I chose Ben for the Breakfast honor partly because he is a very hard worker. He strives for perfection and will work on both his art and academic work until he feels it’s the best it can possibly be.”  Ben contributes his time to National Art Honor Society service projects, including coming up with the design and working on the PennDOT Paint the Plow competition. He is known as the kind of person who is quiet, respectful and helpful.  Mrs. Mack added “He doesn’t ‘blow his own horn’ about his accomplishments, so I felt he deserved some recognition as a Champion.”

Jordan Zeunges from the Physical Education department chose senior David Marinchak.  “It didn’t take long for David’s character to stand out to the whole physical education department this year,” said Miss Zeunges.  “We agreed early on that he would make a great candidate for Breakfast of Champions due to his kindness, the utmost respect he treats everyone with, his positive attitude and his work ethic.”  Miss Zeunges, who assists the swim team in conditioning for the season, has known David for a few years. He is described as a hard worker who never needs external motivation in order to do so.  Along with his hardworking attitude, he is kind, outgoing, respectful, confident, determined, responsible, and displays great leadership. Often times, it is hard to get students to participate in gym and they do the minimum to earn a good letter grade, but David participates for more than a letter grade.  Miss Zeunges said, “David seeks out ways he can improve himself and genuinely cares about his peers. Focusing on proper technique, asking questions, and excelling in the weight room were just small bits of why I selected him.”

As this is David’s first year at Greater Latrobe Senior High School, he said, “It felt great knowing I was chosen as one of the first nominees in Breakfast of Champions. I honestly was surprised by this award and it pushes me to improve myself further.”  He would like to thank Miss Zeunges for pushing him everyday not only in the weight room, but also as a person outside in the real world. “I’ve known Miss Zeunges for three years now and being chosen by her means a lot to me. She’s been one of my biggest role models since day one. She pushes me to improve every aspect of myself and others and I look up to her in everything she does,” said Marinchak.  

For the History department, junior Lynn Pletcher was picked by David Cook.  “I chose Lynn Pletcher for my champion because she comes to class everyday and works hard and is excited about learning,” said Mr. Cook.  “She is always in a good mood and is a kind and caring person.” She is described with having a great work ethic and will go the extra mile with anything. Lynn is also recognized as being a compassionate person who will help anyone she can, displaying her happy and extremely funny personality.

Senior Ricky Fisher represented the Science department after being nominated by Jason Brandt.  From the first day of class Mr. Brandt said, “He always asks questions and is enthusiastic about learning.”  Ricky is seen as self-motivated and consistently participates every day in class in a respectful way. Ricky spends his Lunch and Learn time in the planetarium for discussions. “He always tries to see both sides of the argument and the bigger picture of everything,” said Mr. Brandt.  His peers describe him as being thoughtful and someone who pushes people to their full potential.

English Teacher, Caryl Kostic, honored junior Tré Mallin.  Mrs. Kostic emphasized how hard working Tré is. This is the second year Mrs. Kostic has had him in class. She said “He comes into class everyday pleasant, upbeat, polite.  For me personally, he puts me on a good track for the day.” He always does what he is asked without complaint. His hard work reflects outside of school as he works part-time at Gutchess Lumber in Latrobe and recently earned Employee of the Month at the company.  This is a big accomplishment for a teenager working with adults who have been with the company for a number of years. Besides this recent accomplishment, he has also earned an award for cutting 1 million board feet at work.

Being named a Breakfast of Champion is truly an honor.  The achievement shows a student’s keen interest in learning and personal drive to be successful.