Fourteenth Annual USC High School Halls of FameUpper St. Clair School District
Friday, September 13, 2013
The purpose of the Halls of Fame is to identify and to honor those who have distinguished themselves in academics, the arts or athletics at the high school, collegiate or professional level and who, in so doing, have contributed to the pride and prestige of Upper St. Clair High School.
The Arts Hall of Fame inductees for 2013 are Paul Fox, Alexandra Mayr-Gracik, and Megan Zediker Mullen.The Academics Hall of Fame inductees for 2013 are Tara (Tia) Babu, Eric (Rocky) Feuer, Noah Gray, Joseph Pickel, and Jessie Ramey.The Athletic Hall of Fame inductees for 2013 are Alexandra Gensler, Todd Haley, and Richard Saccani.See below to read the brief bios and to enjoy some of the "digital memories" of that day!
Listed below are brief bios about all of our inductees.
The Arts Hall of Fame inductees for 2013 are Paul Fox, Alexandra Mayr-Gracik, and Megan Zediker Mullen.Paul Fox came to USCHS in 1980 after he had earned a BFA in Music with Honors in 1977 and a MFA in Music Education in 1979 from Carnegie Mellon University. While he was going to graduate school, Paul taught Vocal and General Music at Edgewood School District (K-12). When he came to USC, Paul was appointed to teach Strings, Orchestra, and Music Theory. He spent 33 years as a choral and orchestra teacher in the high school and district schools. After the first year, Paul’s was reassigned to teach Choral Music and Orchestra grades nine through twelve. Paul directed the choir for fourteen years and the orchestra for 33 years. In the following years Paul produced five bi-annual holiday musicals, 28 fall plays, and 35 spring musicals. For 25 years he worked as the assistant to the marching band and half-time show announcer. In 1983 Mr. Paul Fox founded and directed the South Hills Junior Orchestra which he has continued to this day. For twenty years he served the Pennsylvania Music Education Association as a Secretary-Treasurer and as a writer, editor, and columnist for the PMEA News. In 1990 Paul extended his service to the district by moving into the area of school publications. He began to write, photograph, and edit USCSD newsletters. In 1994 to the present, Paul has served as the Co-Editor, Managing Editor, and member of the Steering Committee of the Upper St. Clair Today Magazine. Since 2004 Paul has served as the USCSD Writing Communications Coordinator and PR Consultant. He was also on the board for the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair 2006-2012. All of Paul’s contributions during his 33 years at USC reflect his ability to inspire talented people to work together and to strive to communicate through a musical production. Paul has expressed his gratitude that he was fortunate to work in a school district where creativity and self-expression were encouraged and celebrated.Alexandra Mayr-Gracik, Class of 1999, as a freshman and sophomore was a member of a pre-professional ballet program at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet. She was in all four musicals and a member of Multicultural Club. She developed her interest in the arts by joining the Montage and the Jewelry Art Club. Alexandra took USC’s course in jewelry making and was inspired to work in this field. The 1999 Clairvoyant features a picture of Alexandra using copper to create a unique jewelry box. Alexandra created several pieces which she submitted to local competitions. During her senior year she earned silver and bronze key awards at LaRoche College. After graduation from USCHS, Alexandra attended the Fashion Institute of Vienna to study fashion design. As a European fashion designer, she developed her artistic sensibilities to choose the crystals, the stones and metals to design seasonal collections. In 2003 Alexandra joined her mother, father, and sister to create Sabika Jewelry, a company by women for women. The mission of the company is to bring joy and opportunity to women of all ages and diverse backgrounds. Alexandra is the vice president of Design and Marketing and the head designer. Sabika Jewelry features Swarovski crystals, colorful beads, and various metals that are handcrafted into classic and vintage necklaces, earrings, and bracelets and handmade by German and Austrian artisans. The handmade jewelry is presented to women by women through home party experiences. Within the last ten years, Sabika Jewelry has become a multi-million dollar business that employs hundreds of women all over the country. They have recently moved from an office in the Mayr’s USC dining room to a building in Robinson Township. Alexandra and her husband live in Mt. Lebanon.Megan Zediker Mullen, Class of 1994, had numerous activities that reflected her interest in broadcast journalism. She was a charter member and first news anchor of the USC Campus News, a member of Broadcast Club and Speech and Debate Club, and president of SADD. She was on the golf team for four years and the captain as a senior. Upon graduation Megan majored in Broadcast Journalism and minored in sports and political science at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Using Megan West as her professional name, she worked as an intern at CNN Sports Illustrated and a production assistant at Fox Sports Pittsburgh. As a sports reporter in Salisbury, Maryland, Megan won an Associated Press Award. For three years she served as a co-host and sports anchor in Toledo, Ohio. She met quarterback coach Dan Mullen, and she followed him to Salt Lake City to become the main sports anchor at a Fox affiliate. When Dan moved to Florida, Megan was hired by the Golf Channel to become the main anchor at Golf Central as well as at College Central. When her husband moved to Starkville, Mississippi in 2009 as the head football coach of Mississippi State University, Megan became a freelance television host for the Big Ten Network, the Children’s Miracle Network, and the Champions Tour. As the First Lady of Bulldog Football, Megan serves as a second mother to the 80 team players. For their efforts, Megan and Dan were named Man and Woman of the Year in 2011 by the Starkville Daily News. In 2012 Megan and her husband founded and she directs the Mullen Family 36 Foundation to improve the football program and to raise money to provide benefits and opportunities to children in the community. Megan and her husband are the proud parents of two young children.The Academics Hall of Fame inductees for 2013 are Tara (Tia) Babu, Eric (Rocky) Feuer, Noah Gray, Joseph Pickel, and Jessie Ramey.Tara Manyam Babu, Class of 1998, excelled in the marching band, the pit orchestra, and the jazz band. She traveled with the band to Europe to play in various cities. Tia was also a member of the lacrosse team, SADD, LINK, and Natural Helpers. In recognition of her academic excellence and her service, Tia was selected for National Honor Society. During her high school years, Tia entered many science programs that reflected her special interest in a career in medicine. She won two first place and one second place awards at the PA Junior Academy of Sciences State Meetings, and she was recognized at the Pittsburgh Regional School Science and Engineering Fair. Tia pursued her interest at Northwestern University where she earned a BS in Human Communication Sciences in 2002. The following year she earned a MS in Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University. Tia earned her MD from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and then performed a three year residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Massachusetts. Since 2011 Tia has been doing a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. In January of this year, Tia became an instructor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. During her training in the medical field, Tia worked as an EMT in the South Hills, as a director’s assistant for a Rhode Island EMS for Children Program, and an EMT for a Disaster Medical Assistance Team. She also has volunteered in various free clinics and traveled to Honduras and Ecuador to conduct medical interviews in Spanish and to treat the native populations. Throughout her research of infectious diseases, Tia has published articles and presented lectures reflecting the results. Currently she has been working with the Center for Disease Control and the NIH on a serum antibody for the avian H7N7 virus.Eric J. (Rocky) Feuer, Class of 1973, was fourth in his class of 435. In addition to earning letters in tennis, he was selected for National Honor Society and was a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. After winning the Association of Iron and Steel Engineers Merit Scholarship, Rocky attended Oberlin College and earned his BS in Mathematics in 1977. For the next six years, Rocky moved to Chapel Hill and attended the University of North Carolina. In 1981 he earned his MS in Biostatistics and was honored by the Society of Sigma Xi. In 1983 he earned his PhD in Biostatistics. Rocky became the Chief Statistician at the Cancer Center of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. After four years Rocky joined the National Cancer Institute at Bethesda, Maryland, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Since 1987 to the present, Rocky has been a Mathematical Statistician who has focused on evaluating and developing new cancer progress measures, modeling the impact of cancer control interventions, and developing statistical methods for the analysis, interpretation, and presentation of national cancer statistics. Dr. Feuer was awarded in 1999 the NIH Directors Award “in recognition of advancing statistical methods to interpret national cancer statistics.” Since 1998 Rocky has also earned ten NIH Merit Awards for various achievements and in 2008 was elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association. As a result of his studies, Rocky has over 150 publications developing statistical methodology for the analysis and interpretation-based cancer data. On the basis of his teams’ studies, they formulate a method and software to interpret trends in cancer rates that are then used to generate national guidelines for ages when screening for various cancers should start, stop, and how often people should be screened. It was Dr. Feuer who discovered that one in every eight women would develop breast cancer in her lifetime. His methodology and guidelines are used worldwide. Rocky recently founded and currently coordinates an international simulation modeling consortium which has the purpose of interpreting national trends in cancer and developing national guidelines for screening cancer. Rocky is married to a fellow physician, and they are the proud parents of Elyssa, 16, and Hannah, 11.Noah Gray, Class of 1994, was an exceptional student who earned a 3.9 grade point average and entrance into the National Honor Society. His school activities focused on music as a member of the orchestra, jazz band, and marching band for which he was selected as the drum major as a senior. At the Traveling Bands competition in Florida in 1994, Noah was named the Best Jazz Soloist. He also was the captain of the 1994 ice hockey team. Noah attended the University of Notre Dame where he was awarded an undergraduate research grant in 1997. After he was graduated cum laude with a BS in Biology in 1998, Noah moved on to the Mayo Clinic and Graduate School in Rochester, Minnesota. He earned his PhD in Neuroscience in 2003. Noah served as a postdoctoral fellow for three years at Mayo Clinic, at Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory in New York, and at Janelia Farm Research Campus in Virginia. During his college and graduate years, Noah frequently served as a teaching assistant and graduate student representative. He won numerous awards of fellowships and grants that resulted in travel awards and memberships in honoraries. Dr. Gray has been a panelist, featured speaker, or moderator for numerous symposiums for local New York universities, for Johns Hopkins University, for schools as far away as Germany and Portugal. Noah’s numerous presentations and research articles led him into the field of journalism. One of his professional goals is to improve scientific communication to the general public. In 2007 he became an assistant editor for Nature Neuroscience and later that year he was made an associate editor. Since July 2008, Noah has been the senior editor for Nature, part of Nature Publishing Group, in New York, New York. Through his role as a writer, speaker, and editor, Noah Gray continues his fine efforts in the field of neuroscience research.Joseph Pickel, Class of 1994, was extremely active in music and performing arts. He was a member of the marching band, orchestra, jazz band, and district honors band. He was recognized with the Louis Armstrong Award. Joe was a member of German Club and of Thespians because of performances in the fall plays and in the musicals. He was a letterman in swimming. His academic achievements resulted in his selection to National Honor Society. Outside of school Joe was an Eagle Scout. Joe went to Villanova University to study chemistry and to continue to follow his interest in music. During his undergraduate summers, Joe had two internships at Bayer Corporation and one at Villanova University. Joe was on the Dean’s List and chair of the Villanova Jazz Festival. After earning his BS in Chemistry, Joe began the PhD program at the University of Akron. He spent the next five years as a research assistant until 2003 when he earned his PhD in Polymer Science. With his degree in hand, Joe moved to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He served as a postdoctoral associate for a year, a postdoctoral scholar for two years, and a research staff coordinator for two years. Currently, Joe has been a Research Support Group Leader for the Chemical Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the manager of the Work Planning System for research activities at the laboratory. His studies have focused on the synthesis and characterization of natural and synthetic polymers, on the standards for safety, and the improvement for collaborations. His latest work was as a research representative on a team for constructing and transitioning to operations a $95M Gold LEED Chemistry and Materials Science Building. Joe has written numerous publications and has presented his findings to numerous groups in his field. Currently he has a patent pending. His interests away from the lab are STEM Education and Communication of Science, volunteering in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and, most important, playing with his daughter Anna.Jessie Ramey, Class of 1987, was a member of and an accompanist for the Pantheon Choir. As a senior she won the Frederic Chopin Award. She had lead roles in all of the fall plays and the musicals and was named “Best Actress” several times. As the president of the Thespians, she led the group on a tour of New York City. Jessie was also a member of the broadcasting club and lettered in volleyball. When she went on to Carnegie Mellon University, Jessie continued in the fields of theater and music. She wrote the original musical scores for three spring musicals and acted in and directed the music for several others. She became president of the Scotch ‘n’Soda, the student theater organization. She learned to play the bagpipes and played for the university bagpipe band for ten years. Jessie was the co-founder and managing director of the Flying Pig Theatre, a highly successful improvisational theater group. She earned a BA in history with University Honors and won a DAR history award and a Carnegie Mellon Senior Leadership Award. As she worked on earning her MA and PhD in history at CMU, Jessie was the founding director of Carnegie Mellon’s Undergraduate Research Office, which was recognized as a model program and was awarded a half-million dollar grant. Jessie was elected twice to national office as a counselor with the Council of Undergraduate Research; she won a publication award and was recognized by Phi Beta Kappa. Jessie also earned an MA in women’s history from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was awarded the Gerda Lerner Award in Women’s History. Currently Dr. Ramey is a professor of women’s history and public education at the University of Pittsburgh. She recently wrote Childcare in Black and White: Working Parents and the History of Orphanages, which has won three national book awards. Jessie also writes Yinzercation, a successful public blog committed to serving public school education in Pennsylvania. Her efforts have been so successful that she has twice been called to the Obama White House to meet with senior advisors. Jessie has made many speeches, written many publications, and directed many rallies to support public education. Jessie lives with her husband John Zimmer and their two sons in Point Breeze.The Athletic Hall of Fame inductees for 2013 are Alexandra Gensler, Todd Haley, and Richard Saccani.Alexandra Gensler, Class of 2008, was a member of Latin Club, SADD, and National Honor Society. It was in the sport of basketball that she set numerous records. She was the third all-time scoring leader for USC with 1305 points. Alex averaged 16 ½ points per game as a senior and scored 25 points to lead the Panthers to victory in the WPIAL Championship game in 2008. Because of her excellent record, Alex was chosen for the Almanac Elite Eleven, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fab Five, and the AP All State AAAA second team. In 2008 she was the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Player of the Year. Alex left USC and enrolled at Duquesne University and majored in marketing and sports marketing. She was on the Dean’s List all four years, on the Director of Athletics’ Honor Roll, and the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. In 2012 Alex was graduated cum laude. In addition to being an outstanding student, Alex was an exceptional basketball player. At Duquesne she was a four year starting guard on the varsity team. In that capacity Alex set the fourth All Time Scoring record with 1445 points, broke the three point record with 238, and the most three point shots in one game with 8. The Dukes made four consecutive post-season appearances in the WNIT during Alex’s college career. When she was a senior, Alex was a finalist for the Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year. After her graduation she played professional basketball in Hungary for team ZTE-NKK of the Hungarian A League. This fall Alex is returning to Pittsburgh to become a graduate assistant and assistant coach for Suzie McConnell-Serio at the University Of Pittsburgh.Todd Haley, Class of 1985, was on the baseball team for one year, the hockey team for two years, and the golf team for his junior and senior years. He was undefeated as a high school golfer and served as captain as a senior. He continued on the golf teams at the University of North Florida and the University of Miami. As a Gator he participated in NCAA tournaments. In 1991 Todd earned his degree in communications from the University of North Florida. In 2010 he was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for making a significant contribution to his profession, community, and society. Although Todd did not play football in high school, he certainly developed a keen interest and expertise in the field. Because his father Dick Haley was the Steelers’ Director of Player Personnel, Todd was a ball boy, attended Steeler training camps, and watched game and practice films with his father. Todd began his professional career in football as an assistant in the scouting department of the New York Jets. He progressed to the wide receivers and offensive coach for the Jets, the Chicago Bears, and the Dallas Cowboys. In 2007 Todd became the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals and led them to win the division and to play in the Super Bowl XLIII. Todd became the Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. In his second year the Chiefs made it into the playoffs and Todd was named the AFC Coach of the Year by the national media and the NFL Alumni Coach of the Year. In 2012 Todd returned to Pittsburgh as the Offensive Coordinator of the Steelers, a position which he currently holds. He and his wife Chrissie live in USC with their four daughters and one son.Richard Saccani came to USCHS in 1966 to teach math after he had earned a BS in Mathematics from California State College. He later added an MS in Mathematics to his professional qualifications. Because he had played tennis for Charleroi High School and for California State College, Rich petitioned the administration and the school board to field a tennis team. Therefore in the spring of his second year of teaching, Rich formed the first USC tennis team. The young men who signed up for the team had little or no knowledge of the sport. Because they had no equipment, the boys collected S & H Green Stamps – 3 ½ books bought one racket! From the very beginning, Rich established himself as a dedicated coach who demanded the same commitment to hard work, teamwork, and sportsmanship from his team. The young team met with immediate success the first year by winning eleven matches and losing only two. In the second year the team won the section by defeating Mt. Lebanon. They were the first USC athletic team in any sport to defeat Mt. Lebanon. During his 24 years of coaching, Rich compiled a record of 404 wins and 43 defeats. His teams won six WPIAL Championships and had five undefeated seasons. In 1980 Rich was named the Middle States Tennis Association Coach of the Year and the Allegheny Mountain Tennis Association Coach of the Year. Rich’s success as a coach was not only to inspire wins but also to instill the team with a sense of tradition. Coach Saccani had established a tradition of excellence in USC tennis and each team member knew that he represented his parents, the school, and the community. As a result, Coach Saccani’s teams were known not only as tennis powerhouses, but also as the models of tennis deportment. Rich has maintained a lasting relationship with many of his players. Dan Cooper, Class of 1987, noted, “We were taught to be hard-working and competitive, but also to display courtesy and good sportsmanship. These are values that transcend sport, and I suspect most of us carried these values with us into our adult lives.”
Last Modified on December 17, 2013