Bethel Park alumni surprise senior with $10,000 scholarship

An initial meeting and subsequent conversation between a Bethel Park high school student and two former students resulted in the student being offered a $10,000 scholarship.

Lily Gaston met Jeffrey and Christine (Hasselberg) Keisling, both 1975 graduates, at a dinner honoring some of the school’s distinguished alumni, held ahead of the National Honor Society induction ceremony from school in March. They spoke at length about their respective backgrounds and found that they shared common interests.

The Keislings are strong advocates for women pursuing education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, and during her career, Jeffrey has successfully implemented development, internship and hiring for high school and college-aged students with STEM degrees.

Lily, who graduated in June, will be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall to pursue science and math degrees and compete on the women’s soccer team.

“Christine and I were so impressed that Lily had the confidence and obvious leadership abilities to approach us for a friendly and very insightful discussion about careers in STEM fields,” said Jeffrey, a recently retired Pfizer Inc. executive. .

His wife added:

“His academic and athletic accomplishments speak for themselves, but I think what stands out most for Jeff and me is his humility and strong desire to help others.”

While chatting with Lily, the Keislings became convinced that they needed to express their appreciation for the Bethel Park elder in a tangible way. Then, during her National Honor Society introductory on-stage presentation, they wrote Lily a scholarship offer on the event program and delivered it to Bethel Park High School Principal Joseph Villani. , asking him to check it out with Lily’s parents first.

Lily admits she was a little taken aback at first, as she thought she was just engaging in a friendly chat about issues she was passionate about.

“It was completely unexpected,” she said. “I just wanted to learn more about Jeff’s career in using technology to improve patients’ lives, which is also one of my goals. It obviously never occurred to me at the time that our friendly conversation would lead to such a generous and humiliating scholarship offer.

This was the first year the Alumni Hall of Fame dinner was combined with the National Honor Society induction ceremony.

“The pandemic forced us to re-examine how we did everything, but it also allowed us to reinvent some of our existing traditions and create new opportunities for our students,” Villani said. “Looking at our National Honor Society induction ceremony and our Alumni Hall of Fame, we thought it made perfect sense to use these two events to connect some of our current top students with some of our most distinguished alumni. And this is a remarkable, if completely unexpected, result of such a connection.

The Keislings officially presented Lily with their check for $10,000 at Bethel Park High School‘s Awards and Recognition Night, held on June 1.

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