Bethel Park seniors, Anabel Franzmann and Connor O’Neil were recently among the recipients of the South Hills Area School District Association (SHASDA) Student Award at a school district administrators’ brunch held at the Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pa. Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and Homestead, Pa., native, Charlie Batch served as the event’s keynote speaker.
The award is meant to recognize students who have made the greatest strides from their freshman until their senior years.
Franzmann overcame some major obstacles including a relocation and some serious medical issues within her family to excel in the classroom. She credits the adversity she faced for making her stronger. “Our family was really tested by some of the challenges we faced and I think those challenges brought us closer together and it helped me mature,” she said.
Franzmann will attend Point Park next year, where she intends to pursue a double major in marketing and professional sales as well as graphic design.
O’Neil said that school was always a bumpy road for him. “I was just always different than many of my classmates and unfortunately, that bothered some people,” he said. “That led to a lot of conflict and just a general feeling that I never quite fit in.”
Like Franzmann, O’Neil credits the support of his family and maturity for allowing him to turn the corner. “I think I just stopped worrying about things that don’t really matter and began focusing on being a good student who works hard and is involved in a lot of extracurriculars,” he said.
O’Neil will attend Cal U next year and plans to major in geology. “I’d like to be able to help predict natural disasters before they happen, so we can save lives,” he said.
Founded in 1978, the South Hills Area School Districts Association (SHASDA) is a consortium of 23 school districts interacting to improve public education in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh. It communicates with the five state senators and fourteen members of the House who share the responsibility of representing in Harrisburg the people living in the SHASDA area.