NHS Students Volunteer for Senator Ward


Dottie Staffen

Back row (from left to right): Kevin Chen, Joey Costello, TJ Gaia, Carter Petrosky, Matthew Henderson Front row (from left to right): Lauren Willner, Aislinn Zimmerman, Senator Ward, Josie Rodell, and Sarah Zylka

Johna Roche, Assistant Editor in Chief

Our senior citizens should be acknowledged and cherished, and that is exactly what Senator Ward did at her annual Senior Expo. 26 students from three schools [Latrobe, Greensburg Salem, and Hempfield] helped her inform the seniors in the area. They volunteered in order to help out their community and provide a great day for the senior citizens. The nine National Honor Society students from GLSH who volunteered were Kevin Chen, Joey Costello, TJ Gaia, Matthew Henderson, Carter Petrosky, Josie Rodell, Lauren Willner, Aislinn Zimmerman, and Sarah Zylka.


“We did different things like helping vendors [Excela, Wigs ‘n More, doctors and other medical vendors, etc.] set up, welcoming the [senior citizens], handing out programs, parking cars, serving food, and cleaning up,” Costello said.


“We also handed out free gift bags, programs, and door prize tickets to the seniors attending,” Zylka said.


“I would describe the atmosphere as fun and informative. We pride ourselves on trying to be as organized as possible and having a variety of organizations present with products and services that would be helpful to senior citizens,”  said District Administrator Mrs. Dottie Staffen.


Volunteers enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and their experience while there. “My experience was really good. Senator Ward is extremely nice and she was dancing all around with people. Her staff was also very nice and helpful,” Zimmerman said.


“It was easy to see why she was elected [as a PA Senator],” Zylka said.


Senator Ward seemed to be very friendly throughout the day, being a great host to her guests. She made the senior citizens feel comfortable and appreciated.


“The experience was truly something special, when Senator Ward first arrived and as she was greeting all the seniors, she seemed to know every single person. She was so incredibly kind to everybody and all of the students volunteering. I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Rodell said.


The experience was great. Getting to meet new people from other schools was really cool, and the entire event was just really interesting to be at. Talking to the people there was really fun, because each person had a story to tell and getting to hear from them while I didn’t even know them was still super interesting,” Gaia said.


Costello said that he had a conversation with one of the attendees about his future: goals, career, beliefs. “She asked me if I was interested in running for the Presidency when I’m older,” said Costello.


“I think we benefited by just knowing that we were doing something good for someone else,” Costello said.


“From this event I feel like I benefited by being able to gain a ton of social skills in one day. Talking to countless people whether it be just helping to tell them where to go, or listening to a very kind old man’s story about his son made me feel really good knowing that I helped people and made them happy. I also think it was really cool to be able to see how such a large event takes so many people to help run it,” Gaia said.


“Her staff [Dottie Staffen] did a great job at organizing volunteers and telling us what to do. Overall, it felt good to help out,” Petrosky said.


Mrs. Kuhn, the advisor of NHS, spoke about how this opportunity came to be. Staffen was in charge of directing the event. Her sons [Ryan and Dan] were also a part of NHS in the past, and knew about community service opportunities like this, and wanted to contact the school about it.


“Students came on a first come, first serve basis,” Kuhn said. About 15 students were interested in going; however, some needed to be waitlisted due to limited space.


The volunteers received community service hours for this event, and they will also be receiving a letter of recommendation from Senator Ward personally.


“This is a big deal,” Kuhn said.


This letter of recommendation won’t just be like any other, this will be from a well known state Senator that is recognizing these nine students for their hard work.