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PHLF Awards $4,000 Scholarships to Five College-Bound Students

The Landmarks Scholarship Committee of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) has selected five high-school graduates from Allegheny County to receive $4,000 college scholarships (payable over four years), for book and tuition expenses only. “Forty-five students from Allegheny County have been awarded college scholarships since the program’s inception in 1999,” said Committee Chair David Brashear. “Several of those recipients are now employed in Pittsburgh as architects, bridge inspectors, engineers, teachers, and researchers––and all of them are accomplished people, involved in their communities and proud of Pittsburgh.”

A luncheon celebration is scheduled on Monday, June 20 for the five 2011 winners and former recipients.

PHLF received 70 applications this year––a record number––and was able to award five scholarships, thanks to the continuing support of the Brashear Family Fund at PHLF and generous donations from others. “This program helps us connect with young people who value Pittsburgh’s history, architecture, and landscape design, and who we believe will contribute to Pittsburgh during their lifetime,” said Louise Sturgess, executive director of PHLF. The five scholarship recipients are:

  • Shane A. Fischbach of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, who has been admitted to Brown University’s Program in Liberal Medical Education and will be majoring in History and Urban Studies;
  • Lisa M. Stabryla of Pittsburgh Carrick High School, who will be majoring in Engineering atthe University of Pittsburgh;
  • Jaela C. Wesley of Pittsburgh Schenley High School, who will be studying History, Languages, and International Studies at Spelman College;
  • Anthony N. Chmura of North Hills High School, who will be studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame;
  • Christopher J. Guyan of South Fayette High School, who will be majoring in Civil Engineeringat Penn State University;

The Landmarks Scholarship Program is the culmination of PHLF’s educational programs for thousands of students (K-12) in Allegheny and surrounding counties. It gives Allegheny County students an incentive to excel in school, become involved in their communities, and express their commitment to this region in a meaningful way.

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation Scholarship Program is offered each year. Applications for the 2011-12 school year will be available in January 2012. Applicants must:

  • live in Allegheny County;
  • be a high school senior who has been accepted to a college or university;
  • have a cumulative Grade Point Average at the end of the first semester senior year of 3.25 or greater; and
  • write an essay on a certain topic, complete an application, and submit two letters of recommendation.

2011 Landmarks Scholarship Recipients: Essay Excerpts

Scholarship applicants were asked to write about a place in Allegheny County that is important to them and has affected them personally. The essays of all scholarship applicants, from 1999 to 2011, are archived at the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

Shane A. Fischbach

A graduate of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Shane Fischbach has been admitted to Brown University’s Program in Liberal Medical Education and will be majoring in History and Urban Studies.

In his scholarship essay, Shane wrote that “My school, Taylor Allderdice High School, has withstood economic and architectural assaults, evolving into a historical landmark which encapsulates the growth, decline, and resurgence of the Pittsburgh community it serves . . . If Mr. Trimble [the architect] could revisit his educational masterpiece, would he shudder? Or would he be pragmatic and forgive the utilitarian architectural additions that were instituted in response to economic, cultural and political evolution? I am confident that he would perceive the durability and sustainability of his original design in spite of modern, superficial and practical modifications. Even with its architectural imperfections, Allderdice is “home.” I am proud that it has evolved from a mythical Mount Olympus into an institution that accommodates an integrated and more equitable society of learners. The impressive façade might have lost its original grandeur, but the temple on the hill was transformed into a superior educational institution, which has withstood the ravages of architectural compromises and epitomizes the theme of accessibility in public education.”

Lisa M. Stabryla

A graduate of Pittsburgh Carrick High School, Lisa Stabryla will be majoring in Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

In her scholarship essay, Lisa describes her experience at the Carnegie Library of Homestead: “Growing up in Allegheny County you will find yourself encompassed by a vast number of communities and neighborhoods, each unique in its own way. . . . For me, my excitement lies within the walls of the Carnegie Library of Homestead, majestically standing on a hilltop overlooking the town and river. . . . As I walk up the steps leading to the main entrance of the library, there is a feeling of greatness that surrounds me. The pure force of the architecture draws me in. . . . The library not only houses books, but offers so much more to the community. It is a place where the community can meet to learn and socialize. . . . I am glad to make the library a special part of my life as it was to my grandmother; I continue to impart and bestow those values onto my niece, and maybe someday onto my children. As voices are heard echoing throughout, the history contained in these walls is endless. The Carnegie Library of Homestead unites all generations of people together.”

Jaela C. Wesley

A graduate of Pittsburgh Schenley High School, Jaela Wesley will be attending the University of Miami to study History, Languages, and International Studies.

In her scholarship essay, Jaela wrote: “Imagine it’s a sunny day and you are leaving Downtown Pittsburgh walking up Centre Avenue past the Mellon Arena towards the Hill District. . . . You look up the street to see just how much more you have to climb before the street levels off and something catches your eye in the distance. You ask yourself, ‘What is that on top of that church on the corner?’ . . . The landmark is the statue of St. Benedict the Moor. . . . Even though I am not Catholic, I am always in awe when I look up at that statue. There seems to be a certain sense of calm about St. Benedict. You can feel the peace and serenity. . . . Welcome to the Hill District and its rich history!”

Anthony N. Chmura

A graduate of North Hills High School, Anthony Chmura will be attending the University of Notre Dame to study Mechanical Engineering.

In his scholarship essay, Anthony wrote that the “Sarah Heinz House Boys and Girls Club on the North Side of Pittsburgh epitomizes the term important. . . . Robert Maurice Trimble designed the building . . . [which] still contains the original Stickley furniture in the lobby. The stained glass windows in the stairwells were designed and installed by the esteemed J. Horace Rudy. . . . Sarah Heinz House is also LEED certified. . . . Despite the impact of the building itself, it is what goes on inside Sarah Heinz House that makes it truly special. I have been attending Heinz House for twelve years, and without my involvement there, I would not be who I am today. I was a shy, introverted kid. My insecurities truly blocked me from progressing socially, mentally, and physically. . . . Sarah Heinz House opened numerous doors for me. . . . I have discovered my two great passions: serving youth and engineering. Through robotics, I have learned many things. I unknowingly gained a greater grasp of math and science, while having a lot of fun. I learned I enjoy designing and building. . . . More importantly, I have learned the true value of being a mentor and friend. Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I realize how blessed I have been, and I feel compelled to give back.

Christopher J. Guyan

A graduate of South Fayette High School, Christopher Guyan will be attending Penn State University to study Civil Engineering.

In his scholarship essay, Christopher wrote: “PPG Place is quintessential ‘Pittsburgh.’ It blends the old and the new into an impressive icon that streaks above the skyline of downtown. . . . The complex consists of a 40-story tower and five satellite buildings. The design is in a Neo-Gothic style, inspired by the Cathedral of Learning and the Allegheny County Courthouse. Each building has a façade of modern glass with traditional gothic spires adorning the top. This blend successfully captures the history and heritage of Pittsburgh. . . . I have really enjoyed living so close to the city and being able to experience all of the history and architecture in the area. I have always been interested in art and drawing, and have drawn pictures that included parts of Pittsburgh. . . . The exposure to the city has also helped me to decide on my college major and my future career. I found a true passion for architecture when I moved here. . . . I enjoy roads and bridges, and the architecture of Pittsburgh has led me to decide to be a transportation engineer.”

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633