• Jan. 11, 2023

    Two named 18 Under Eighteen honorees

    Kriti & IsaacTwo Upper St. Clair High School students are among the 18 Under Eighteen honorees for 2023. Junior Isaac Bernstein and sophomore Kriti Gupta will be recognized at the Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania (JA) celebratory event on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2023, at Acrisure Stadium.

    Nominees were evaluated in the following categories: leadership, community service, entrepreneurial spirit, extraordinary skill sets, and any talent or intangible qualities that contribute to the nominee's road to success.

    Isaac’s big dream is to eliminate food insecurity. After learning that cash donations are more valuable to food banks than food drives, he spearheaded an initiative to support the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Since April 2020, he has visited local families dressed as the Grinch and the Easter Bunny – raising enough donations to provide more than 100,000 meals to families in need.

    An avid hockey player, Isaac plays competitively and uses the sport to give back to his community. Hockey Fights Hunger, his most recent event, was a 3-on-3 tournament designed for participants to have fun while raising money for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The tournament raised 27,000 meals for families in need.

    At Upper St. Clair High School, Isaac is an active leader in Student Council, works as a peer tutor and serves as a mentor through the Natural Helpers program. This summer, Isaac will travel to Japan as a High School Diplomat, a scholarship program that connects students from the United States and Japan.

    Kriti Gupta is committed to improving youth education for underserved and underfunded communities. After learning about the inequities that remote learning created, she founded Chance to Change Lives (CCL) Kids, a non-profit organization that helps children who reside in economically disadvantaged communities or experience homelessness.

    In 2022, CCL-Kids donated 96 backpacks filled with school supplies to United Elementary School within the McKeesport School District. The organization also delivered hygiene care packages to teenage girls living in Women’s East-Pittsburgh, a local homeless shelter. Kriti is currently developing a summer reading program for elementary-aged students to prevent the summer slide, or the loss of academic skills and knowledge. This academic program will pilot at United Elementary School in McKeesport during summer 2023.

    Kriti is passionate about helping others and making positive change within her community. She hopes to extend her outreach efforts to as many shelters and underfunded school districts as possible.

    Nominations for JA’s 18 Under Eighteen were cast throughout western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. A diverse committee of community members reviewed each nomination and interviewed finalists to become the select 18.

    Tickets to the 18 Under Eighteen event on Feb. 7 are available online for $40/adult and $20/student. The deadline to register is noon on Friday, Feb. 3. Visit: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/18undereighteen2023/event/18undereighteen2023/.

    This marks the second year for JA’s 18 Under Eighteen program. Upper St. Clair senior Yoshna Venkataraman was among the program’s inaugural honorees last year.

    The 18 Under Eighteen Class of 2023 includes:

    • Hannah Bedeck, Shaler Area High School
    • Isaac Bernstein, Upper St. Clair High School
    • Carter Cropper, Eden Christian Academy
    • Jason Garland, Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts
    • TyLynn Gault, Winchester Thurston School
    • Kriti Gupta, Upper St. Clair High School
    • Grace Howard, South Fayette High School
    • Bristol Joseph, Trinity East Elementary
    • Quinn Komar, Greater Johnstown High School
    • Elijah Majocha, Highlands High School
    • Luke Martin, Hampton Middle School
    • Sreyashi Mondal, Pine-Richland High School
    • Grace Reid-Vensel, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
    • Mallory Schreiber, Bentworth High School
    • Mohammed Shedeed, South Fayette High School
    • Karsen Thompson, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
    • Stevin Wallace, Quaker Valley High School
    • Abby Wertz, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School