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Alison AndrascavagePittston Area news

Several students and faculty members of Pittston Area High School have been hard at work improving their community with passion and drive — and there are no signs of stopping anytime soon. From Young Lawyers to Art Club Extraordinaires and Science Fanatics, the Pittston community has many groups to be proud of.

On Feb. 27, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Club competed at the regional level with their project entry for the “Improving Pennsylvania with STEM” contest. The Pittston STEM team was led by senior Arianna Boccardi alongside fellow students Emily Jobson, Katrina Dillion, and Sara Butler.

The process was no easy task, and the team finally decided to turn their attention to a borehole in Old Forge. The water had been highly contaminated with iron oxide.

With the guidance of the vice president of Site Services Group, Chris Gillis and two engineers of the same organization, Ben Letwinsky and Ken Aston, the team set out to craft an intricate device that would ultimately purify the water. The device created energy that charged copper wires in order to filter out the iron oxide.

Pittston STEM Club adviser and teacher James Kupetz selected the project to compete at the Luzerne Intermediate Unit in Kingston. The prize consisted of $750 for the winning team to expand their project. Pittston Area placed second. However, Boccardi didn’t take this as a loss.

“I’m really proud,” she explained. “We may have technically lost, but we’ll never quit trying to improve the world. That’s where the real win comes from.”

The day following the STEM competition, on Feb. 28, senior Bailey Piechota was dubbed “Artist of the Week” by WVIA. Art teacher Judith Greenwald encouraged Piechota to enter the contest. Piechota was required to enter five pieces of art, so she chose all charcoal drawings, her specialty.

Piechota was interviewed for TV, and her interview can be watched online. Piechota’s reign as “Artist of the Week” ended March 4, but she is now in the running to be WVIA’s “Artist of the Year.”

“Art is something I want to do for the rest of my life, because I enjoy it,” she said.

Most recently, the Young Lawyers Club and the Future Business Leaders of America have teamed up for the “Adopt a Soldier” effort. Non-perishable items, toiletries, paper products, and the like are being collected in order to fill empty shoeboxes. The shoeboxes will be sent to a U.S. Army platoon in Afghanistan, where 2014 Pittston Area graduate Eric Danaher is stationed. In addition, funds also are being raised for extra support of the U.S. Army team.

“I’m so happy that the school has come together for this cause,” said FBLA member Hannah Simerson. “It means everything to help one of our own. I know that this community has always been strong and will keep being strong. I’m lucky to come from such a passionate corner of the world.”

Alison Andrascavage is a junior at Pittston Area High School. This column was published in The Citizens’ Voice as part of the Newspaper in Education Program. Student columns are published in The Citizens’ Voice Wednesdays during the school year.