August 2019
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High School Seniors Equipped with Skills for Success in Future Endeavors

The start of summer means sunshine, swimming and vacations, but it’s also the time when recently-graduated seniors start to plan for the next steps along their academic and career paths.

Thanks to all of their hard work and dedication, BSD’s graduating class of 2017 is poised for success. In particular, three students have shown just how important a solid academic and athletic foundation is as they look forward to the next step in their path to success.

For Class of 2017 Valedictorian Trinity Key, her AP Government and Politics class helped her to realize that the sky really is the limit when it comes to choosing a fulfilling and successful career path. “The tumultuous political atmosphere combined with the differing perspectives present in the class,” says Trinity, “enticed me and lead me to consider a possible career in foreign affairs.”

“Trinity is a relentless worker and a young lady with limitless potential,” says Burrell High School principal Dr. John Boylan.

That potential shows in Trinity’s plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, with hopes of also playing cello or violin in an orchestra and taking a few art classes as well.



Eliza Oswalt, a dedicated student and talented athlete, achieved remarkable academic and athletic success, including scoring her 1000th point in basketball, winning the WPIAL Girl’s Track title and making it to States in javelin. Despite her rigorous coursework and athletic demands, Eliza was able to find a balance and succeed in both areas.

“It was very difficult to balance athletics, academics, and other activities,” Eliza says, “so it took a lot of nights of staying up late doing homework, but I always found a balance. Obviously, my schoolwork came before any athletics or a social life, so I’d usually get it done so I could make sure I was practicing or able to hangout with my friends.”

As a testament to her outstanding ability to juggle school, sports and spending time with friends, Eliza will be attending Mercyhurst University to major in forensic science, while playing Division II basketball on scholarship.




Another outstanding student, Shannon Dudek, who placed second in the Skills USA Competition in 2017, found her inspiration to become a nurse while attending the Northern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center. After spending time comforting and even praying with an elderly patient struggling with depression, as well as witnessing generations of women celebrating the birth of a new baby, and learning that a patient whom she had cared for had passed away, Shannon just knew that this was the path for her.

“I never expected my clinical experience to be as emotionally intense as it was,” she says, “but it made me recognize that nursing is what I am meant to do.

In the fall, Shannon will continue her journey towards becoming a nurse at UPMC St. Margaret School of Nursing. “My first goal is to become a registered nurse and work in the emergency department,” says Shannon. “My second goal is to finish my Bachelor’s Degree through Chatham University and continue work as an emergency nurse or finish my Master’s Degree to become a nursing instructor.”

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