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Left to right: Ethan Wingard, Shay Roth, Ethan Dabbs, Maggie Blaisdell, Cooper Tretter, Morgan Bailey, Jonathan Guaetta, Rory Bretz, Alex Kiepert, Adeline Mishler

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is pleased to welcome the 2018 class of interns for the sixth year of the Youth Philanthropy Internship program.

During the eight week program, interns will craft radio documentaries highlighting local interests, assemble a marketing project to recruit the next group of Youth Philanthropy Interns, and award $50,000 in funds to support a local nonprofit or government entity aiming to combat a community issue the interns hope to target. CFA Program and Communications Officer Angie Berzonski says, “This paid internship is an integral part of getting youth involved and invested in this community. Year after year, the interns prove themselves as future leaders, discover a new appreciation for their hometowns, and deepen their passion for helping.”

This program is possible thanks to generous funding from The Heinz Endowments. The Endowments supports efforts to make southwestern Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work, a center for learning and educational excellence, and a region that embraces diversity and inclusion.

The eight young people, 2018 high school graduates, will be led by senior interns Ethan Wingard and Adeline Mishler, participants in last year’s program.

Meet this year’s YPI class:

Ethan Dabbs is a 2018 graduate of Richland High School and will be attending the University of Virginia on a track and field scholarship in fall. In additional to track and field, Ethan was actively involved with high school football and volunteered  to help run the Richland Rockets youth football league. He is passionate about the outdoors, especially fishing and camping. Ethan is an avid goal setter and works hard to reach those goals. One of these goals is to become a leader among his community. Through the Youth Philanthropy Internship, Ethan hopes to be learn about evaluating projects that will impact this area and provide a solution to the lack of personal relationships, which he thinks is a major problem among communities.

Shay Roth is a 2018 graduate from Richland High School, and will be attending The University of Pittsburgh Honors College for Pharmacy this fall. Shay is passionate about music and dance. During her time in high school, she joined various clubs and communities, including Student Council, Drama Club, and the National Honor Society. Over the last few years, she has competed at Nationals for forensics. Because of her future plans in pharmacy, she looks forward to working on solutions for the drug problem in and around Johnstown.

Rory Bretz is a 2018 graduate of Somerset High School. While at Somerset, she was a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Student Council, Mu Alpha Theta, Interact Club, Spanish Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and Youth and Government. She made High Honor Roll every semester in every year, and received a number of college scholarships. Winning two conference championships, Rory was an accomplished pitcher and swimmer for Somerset. She will be continuing her academic and athletic career at La Roche College where she will major in National Security and minor in Spanish. She enjoys volunteering through her school’s interact club, and she is “very thankful for the opportunity to be in YPI and looks forward to helping the community.”

Morgan Bailey is a 2018 graduate of Richland High School. While at Richland, Morgan was involved in extracurricular activities, as well as academics. She was Vice President of Students Against Destructive Decisions, President of Spanish Club, Treasurer of Key Club, and Secretary of Student Council and Math Club. Morgan also participated in National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Forensics. In the fall, Morgan plans to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania Cook Honors College to study Spanish Education with a future goal of educating others about Spanish language and culture. Morgan loves to explore the outdoors and umpire for softball league teams. Morgan’s passion for serving the younger generation inspired her to partake in this internship opportunity to hopefully better the community in which she was raised.

Jonathan Guaetta is a 2018 graduate of Windber Area High School. He plans to further his education in marketing at Robert Morris University on the Presidential Scholarship. His future plans were solidified after being accepted to the Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship. During high school, he led his soccer team to three district titles and two West-PAC titles as goalkeeper. He was the President of the History Club and National Honor Society, Chairman of Mini-THON committee, a member of Mu Alpha Theta, a National Forensics qualifier, and Technology Student Association state champion. He finished as the Windber Area High School Class of 2018 Salutatorian. Jonathan intends to continue his passion for working with non-profit organizations in the next few months. Giving back is very important to him, and he hopes to spread his ideas throughout the community.

Cooper Tretter, a 2018 graduate of North Star High School, plans to attend Harvard University with an Army ROTC scholarship and major in Molecular and Cellular Biology. As a high school student, Cooper participated in numerous clubs and activities. He started on the golf team, held lead roles in five school theatrical productions, was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and was a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. He also participated in forensics, where he was the state finalist for persuasive. Cooper advocates for diversity and enjoys traveling, evident in his exchange trip to Honduras where he studied Spanish and became a global health volunteer. With his optimism, knowledge, and drive to improve the community that made him who he is today, Cooper is ready and excited to participate in this year’s internship.

Alex Kiepert is a 2018 graduate of Central Cambria High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Interact Club, and the Forensics and golf teams. He was also a tech intern at the school and the AV manager for the drama department. Alex will be attending Saint Francis University on a Division I golf scholarship and will be double-majoring in accounting and finance with a possible minor in management information systems. He was the recipient of many awards both for his outstanding golfing and other passions. His hobbies include caddying for the Sunnehanna Country Club, playing golf, working on cars with his father, taking online courses, and volunteering with clubs as well as the Cresson Lake Playhouse. Alex says, “I am very fortunate to be given this opportunity and I look forward to giving back to the community that gave me so much.”

Maggie Blaisdell graduated from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School and will attend Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall with a major in Graphic Design. She enjoyed involvement in a wide array of extracurricular activities in high school, including cross country, National Honor Society, student ambassadors, and yearbook. Maggie was also the artistic designer for her school drama club, where she was distinguished as a runner-up in design at the Isaac’s, a competitive performing arts talent program in Altoona. She joined her school’s newly-created speech team, was the district champion in commentary, and advanced to the state level. Maggie also enjoyed an abroad experience in France her junior year, where she studied international culture and values. She loves art and is currently completing a mural at her alma mater. Maggie is excited to highlight that passion while interning with the Foundation. “The arts are really alive in Johnstown, and some people don’t really see that.”

In addition to the team of 10 interns, Isabel Zenker, an 18-year-old student visiting Johnstown from Germany, joined the team for the first week. Isabel attends Gymnasium Philippinum in Marburg, near Frankfurt, Germany, where she is the current president of the Interact Club. In her free time, she loves to box, read, listen to music, and hang out with her friends. She enjoys Johnstown and is excited to spend more time in the city.

Follow the interns’ summer adventures on our Facebook page.

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