Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School

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Alumni Spotlights

Every other Friday, we feature a different in alum in our Alumni Spotlights on Facebook! If you would like to be featured, please send an email to alumni@olsh.org.
 
 
 
Maria Young '94Maria Young '94
 
What do you currently do for a living?
I am a teacher in the Fox Chapel School District.
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I have worked hard to obtain both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Duquesne University. I am currently in my 21st year of teaching.
 
How did OLSH prepare you for what you’re doing today?
The teachers at OLSH helped to form me into the type of teacher I am. They cared about their students and made me feel important.
 
What’s your favorite memory of OLSH?
The time I spent on the playing fields (basketball, softball, and cross country) is my most memorable at OLSH.
 
Nowadays, Maria is usually behind the camera as opposed to in front of it, so here's a throwback picture of her in her senior year at OLSH!
Bill Buchleitner '97
 
Buchleitner '97What do you currently do for a living?
Retired Army Military Officer; Currently working as a Senior Contract Analyst for Scientific Application International Corporation (SAIC), in support of NASA’s Integrated Communication System (NICS). Essentially my team and I are responsible for all of the electronic acquisitions that enable communication between the ground, space shuttle, and space center.
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Staying married and raising four children, Billy (18); Avery (16); Hudson (7); and Aviana (5). A mentor of mine once defined a successful military career in terms of working through the stress, anxiety, and the trials & tribulations which are thrust upon your family while serving your country, and not getting divorced. Being in a marriage and also having the privilege of being a parent requires immense hard work and sacrifice. I was fortunate that my wife (Christina Parone ‘97) was strong willed. She was primarily responsible for raising four compassionate, bright, high achieving kids while I served on six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan; multiple trips to Africa; and in military exercises throughout the world. Not to mention we moved a total of nine times in 18 years, to include living in Italy and Alaska. Christina ensured that we all capitalized on every opportunity that was presented to us. She always made the best of every situation, and she enabled us to grow as individuals, as well as a family.
 
How did OLSH prepare you for what you’re doing today?
OLSH provided stability for me in a world of chaos. My home life was not well, I did not have positive individuals around me until I began my days in high school. The institution, albeit largely unknown to myself at the time, developed my communication skills, introduced me to organized activities, created a base of professionals that I could count on for mentorship, built my confidence, provided a solid foundation in God, introduced positive people in my life who later became good friends, and of course… I met and began dating Christina here. It is important to note that I was ignorant to the significance of everything I just mentioned, I was oblivious to my personal growth during the four years I was there. My academic career was abysmal, I graduated second from the bottom of my class, and a few trees were cut down to provide paper for all of the demerits I received. But through the opportunities that I was afforded by OLSH, and because I amassed a lifetime of experiences, and most of all because God looks out for me, I have an amazing family; completed a stellar military career; finished my doctorate degree in education leadership; and work for NASA.
 
What’s your favorite memory of OLSH?
I often reflect on my high school days, and many memories pop into my mind that I am fond of. However, my best memory was seeing my wife for the first time in the commons, I knew we were meant to be together.
 
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you. I did not like school as a teenager, nor did I understand the significance of hard work and sacrifice. I always looked for the easiest way to accomplish something, even if it ended up being harder than the original task. I learned through suffering, and this education began for me at OLSH. I specifically remember a time at the end of my sophomore year in which I had received over 100 demerits. Mr. Finnegan (Tony) and whoever else was behind the scenes, were considering not welcoming me back for my junior year. He, or they, decided to give me one more chance and I was able to turn it around. I think of that often, and I would like to say thank you.
Jocelyn (Grecko) Ebert '08
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What do you currently do for a living?
I am a Local Government Affairs Representative for a major oil and natural gas operator working to safely and responsibly develop American energy in the Marcellus Shale Region. In order to do this, we need to abide by various federal, state and local government regulations. I help ensure we are following those regulations and being good neighbors at the local government level. My work involves developing and maintaining good working relationships with local elected officials and members of our community.
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
It’s hard to believe that I graduated college over eight years ago. While graduating from college isn’t my proudest accomplishment, sticking out the college experience, working hard, and laying the best foundation for myself during those four years is something for which I’m incredibly proud. I went to school in Washington, D.C., so being away from home was not easy for a homebody like me. But working hard in our nation’s capital and learning from and working for some amazing leaders taught me a lot and made it all worthwhile. I have many proud and unique moments from that experience. I will always be thankful for the lessons learned in those special years of my life.
 
How did OLSH prepare you for what you’re doing today?
OLSH laid quite the foundation for me. Whether it was working on WCHR, writing for The Clarion, or playing as the only girl on the boy’s golf team, I was always challenged in a meaningful way during my high school years. Anchoring WCHR fostered my love of public speaking and helped me realize I had a gift for gab. Working on The Clarion sharpened my writing skills. Playing golf as the only girl alongside my male peers proved to be challenging and rewarding at the same time – it taught me to fight for myself and also appreciate the perspective and talents of others. These were just a few life lessons that OLSH taught me and I’m still thankful for today.
 
What’s your favorite memory of OLSH?
Filming Core Team videos with Mr. Brasko will always rank as a favorite memory of mine. That, and the Christmas Plays we’d always work so hard on and have fun performing.
 
Anything else you’d like to share?
To those who are students at OLSH now, I’d say to cherish the unique experience you are so fortunate to have. A Catholic Education will take you far in life – don’t forget that, embrace it and use it as something to set you apart in how you lead your life and take on whatever vocation you’re called to. To my fellow alumni, I hope you’re all doing well and looking back on the OLSH memories proudly!
Tom Goodwin '92
 
What do you do for a living?
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I work in the accounting department of Cronimet Corporation, one of the world’s largest scrap metal recyclers. I’m also on the Board of Directors and a consultant for the International Myopia Prevention Association. On the weekends, in between being a dad of two girls, I am either watching or doing some type of paranormal investigation, or I am playing recreational dek hockey. Ploz and I have been playing on the same team since 1998.
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I was born with a leg problem so I grew up wearing leg braces. At a young age, my doctor told my parents that I would not have a normal life because of my legs. So, coming home one day and telling my parents that I am running Cross County was a surprise to them. They may have given me a week until I quit. I ran four years as a top runner at OLSH and two years in college. For years, I was doing something that I was told I couldn’t.
 
How did OLSH prepare you for life after high school?
I have relied more on the values that I learned at OLSH than one could image. Teachers pushed me to do my best and made sure that I was always putting in my maximum effort in anything I did. When I went to college, I realized that I could not slack any. Even today when I do something, I review it and think of what teacher it relates to, and wonder if they would approve of what I’m submitting.
 
What’s your favorite memory of OLSH?
Forming friendships with people that I never knew I’d have a lot in common with. I consider a few of those friends to be family, and we still get together to hang out every now and then. I can still remember meeting them for the first time, either in the commons or being introduced to them at lunch.
 
Anything else you’d like to share?
I really learned a lot about myself at OLSH. A few years after graduating, I realized how much of an influence being there had in my life. The relationships with classmates and teachers were not just for the 4 years there, they were for life. That’s why I enjoy coming back to speak on career day or taking part in alumni events. I feel if I can provide something from my life experience, that may help OLSH or a student, then I am giving back what I learned from there.
Paula A. Calabrese, Ph.D. '60
 
What do you/did you do for a living?
I am a retired educational practitioner with more than 40 years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, school psychologist, assistant superintendent, assistant executive director and educational leader in K-12 parochial, public & charter schools. I was also a university lecturer, associate professor & department chair and served as a Distinguished Educator with the PA Department of Education, among other things.
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Fidelity to the Church despite failings, foibles and falls. Coming full circle from beginning as a teacher in the Catholic schools to ending my educational career as Director of Faith Formation in my parish. Being a lifelong le
arner & successfully dealing with the changes that occur through a lifetime of service to others.
 
How did OLSH prepare you for life after high school?
The challenging academics, the instructional excellence and cultural experiences were foundational to my own professional success, but even more important were the values, ethics and virtues taught & exemplified by the Felician Sisters.
 
What’s your favorite memory of OLSH?
The humanity, warmth & compassion of Sr. Mary Amandine Kadyszewski, the artistry, gentleness & inspiration of Sr. Mary Jane Kadyszewski, the instructional skills, talent & leadership of Sr. Mary Pulcheria Saukaitis, the gentleness and kindness of Sr. Mary Alexander Klawinski and the lifelong friendship of my classmates, Sr. Mary Andrew Budinski, Sr. Mary Patricia Sylvester and Loretta Swierczynski. These women were and are humble yet powerful influences in my life.
 
Anything else you’d like to share?
“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” ― Etienne de Grellet
 
Ken McClain '96
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What do you currently do for a living?
I teach computer skills, media and communication at several universities in Japan. Before that I had many, many other jobs including but not only: steelworker, radio DJ, TV director, actor and working with an international volunteer group.
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
In 2007, I climbed Mount Fuji on national TV! It was a pretty hard challenge itself, but then the show came on a few weeks later, and everyone saw it, so it was a little bit of fame for me at that time.
 
What is your favorite memory of OLSH?
The academic achievement awards in 1996. I won an award for excellence in drama class. The teacher, Debbie Mendoza, is sadly no longer with us, but she really believed in me. When I won the award I was so shocked. I can't imagine what everyone else was thinking when they saw me up on stage with all the good students. I still have that award and theres a photo in the yearbook of Mrs. Mendoza and me from that night. So that memory will live forever!
 
Anything else you'd like to share?
These days I run a YouTube channel. Its pretty popular, almost 15,000 subscribers. I'll also most certainly live the rest of my life in Japan.
Danielle Banas '11
 
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What do you do for a living?
During the day I work in member services for a health insurance company, but after hours I am an author with Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.
 
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Last year I had a book signing for my first novel, The Supervillain and Me, at San Diego Comic-Con. I'd wanted to attend the convention for years but never thought I would since passes are so hard to come by. Turns out all you have to do to get it is spend years writing a book. Super easy—LOL.
 
How did OLSH prepare you for what you're doing today?
Writing, writing, and more writing! The research papers that I wrote in high school were more challenging than the bulk of my college assignments. Even though I solely write fiction now, I honed many of my writing and grammar skills while at OLSH.
 
What's your favorite memory of OLSH?
Hands down the spring musicals! My senior year we did Little Shop of Horrors, and I cried five times onstage during our Best Musical performance at the Gene Kelly Awards. I'll never forget it.
 
Anything else you'd like to share?
I recently released my second young adult novel, The Good for Nothings, which is inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy and Pirates of the Caribbean. If you enjoy outer space heists, pages of witty banter, and quirky groups of misfits, then you can pick up a copy wherever books are sold.