Travelers’ Altrusin Awards ‘Dedication to peers’ praised
Four Bethlehem area senior students received the Travelers Protective Association of America’s Altruism Award in April. Freedom HS’s Raegan Pechar, Liberty HS’s Aliya Brown, Bethlehem Catholic’s Sabrina Sarli and Notre Dame’s Kyle Elliot were honored for their dedication to their peers and those in their community.
High school science teacher, Bill Safranek, speaking on Pechar’s behalf, said she was chosen because of her leadership, her determination to help others, and her “contagious” motivation and enthusiasm.
Pechar is the overall captain of the BASD mini-THON, overseeing 130 members and 18 different captains. Throughout the school year, Pechar along with the THON members organized events such as car washes, restaurant dinners, Color Runs, movie nights, golf tournaments and dance marathons to raise money for pediatric cancer. Last year, these events raised over $100,000.
This year she ran a fundraiser called a GOLD OUT, as part of the Freedom- Emmaus football game. The fundraiser raised $22,000 for the Four Diamonds Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Pechar received the “Young Philanthropist Award of the Lehigh Valley” and the “Fundraising Award” from the Four Diamonds Fund.
Chad Radler, a teacher at Liberty, said that Brown was chosen because of her leadership, her positive personality, and especially her compassion.
Brown volunteered much of her time over the years at the high school in their Life Skills support class and is a “tremendous role model” for her fellow students. Brown also has a natural love of music and encourages students to sing and dance to share in that love with her.
Through this love of music, Brown has organized summer talent shows in order to promote positivity and the encouragement of sharing natural talents. She has been involved in the high school chorus, choraliers, Grenadier Band, the spring musical, “Pippin.”
John Petruzzelli, Principal at Bethlehem Catholic High School, spoke on Sarlis behalf and shared that Sarli was chosen because she is an “exceptional young lady who has been outstanding in many areas.”
Sarli became a National Honor Society member in her junior year and was the top scholar in her freshman theology course. She was on the tennis team and in the last year, she was in the top number singles position. Along with her academics and athletics, Sarli is equally dedicated to her community as a volunteer at Country Meadows Senior Living, a tutor for the high school, and a volunteer at the Center for Great Expectations, and somehow she still finds time to work at a local grocery store each week.
Cassie Boccardi, teacher at Notre Dame HS, spoke on Elliot’s behalf and shared that even though she has only known Elliot for eight months, it didn’t take long after meeting him to realize he “had a heart for service.”
Boccardi explained that Elliot lives his life with humble service, and shared a time when Elliot volunteered to take on extra hours at his work in order to help out another colleague who experienced a personal loss. Boccardi said he had worked an all-day/night fundraiser with Elliot at Notre Dame’s Dance Marathon in order to raise money for childhood cancer. He also managed and executed a 3½ day retreat and received many accolades for a “job well done”.
Guest speaker, Scott Hovan, shared his story about how the TPA positively impacted the life of his son, Cole Hovan, who was born deaf and who was a recipient of a grant from the TPA.
Additionally, guest speaker, John B. Reilly, founder and CEO of Allentown’s City Center, thanked the TPA award recipients for their service and dedication and offered some wisdom and well wishes for their future endeavors.
The TPA Post L in the Lehigh Valley is a national non-profit organization and the largest post of the Pennsylvania division.