What an AMAZING Super Bowl this year! And I'm not just saying that because I live in Philadelphia. We all have a connection to the Super Bowl champions - the Philadelphia Eagles. Two degrees of separation ... our own Lisa (Adams) Ertz is Super Bowl mom to the amazing Philadelphia Eagles' - Zach Ertz!!


Congratulations to John Noble and his awesome Super Bowl commercial!

Rachel (Melanie) with her family
Rachel (Melanie) with her family

Another lost classmate found ... in ISRAEL!!

The reunion committee received the following email from Rachel Heimowitz. Don't recognoze the name? That's because you knew her as Melanie Witte. Read her story here ...

Hey folks,
I heard from Leslie Grayson Bumgamer that there was a 35th reunion, which she missed and I didn't even know about! But that's OK. What really made me laugh was the idea that my name is Miller and I'm living in Montana. Sorry. That isn't me. 
What really did happen to me was a junior year abroad from Sarah Lawrence College in Israel in 1983. I came and I stayed. I married a guy named Heimowitz in 1984, switched to my Hebrew name, Rachel and proceeded to have 6 gorgeous kids. I'm now minus the husband (divorce 2 years ago) but the kids have multiplied significantly. With significant others and grandchildren, we are up to 9 going on 10 when another baby is due in January. Photo attached is everyone except my youngest son. (spoiler alert: I'm the young looking one in the middle) My oldest daughter is 31. My youngest son just turned 17. I live in a tiny village in the desert between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea called Alon. I am teaching part time and working as a copy writer as well as Mommy-ing, Grandma-ing and writing.
I worked with my husband for about 25 years in various businesses mostly in finance. In 2010 I returned to my first love, writing poetry and I have been really lucky to study with some amazing poets in the US. I completed an MFA from Pacific University in Oregon in 2015 and I am now applying to PhD programs in creative writing to begin in fall 2017. I had a small book,What the Light Reveals (Tebot Bach 2014) published and I'm working now on finalizing the manuscript of a deeper and more significant work. 
Feel free to post this information and my photo and I'm happy to connect with anyone who would like on Facebook. Its incredible to see photos of how everyone has changed. I don't know about you guys, but for me the 50s is the best time yet!
With love to all,
Rachel (Melanie Witte) Heimowitz

Article about our own journalist, Ann Belser ...

Former Post-Gazette journalists go hyperlocal with Print newspaper

After more than 20 years in the newspaper business, Ann Belser didn’t expect to have a paper route at this point in her career.

Every Wednesday, she drives her Mazda to Tarentum from her home in Squirrel Hill to pick up copies of the new weekly East End newspaper called simply Print. Belser, the publisher of Print, delivers copies of the paper to subscribers and vendors across the fledgling newspaper’s circulation area — East Liberty, Homewood, Larimer, Point Breeze, Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. Single copies cost $1, and annual subscriptions, which include 50 issues, go for $25.

And unlike most other newspapers in Pittsburgh and around the world, while it has a website, none of Print‘s news content is available online. And that’s the way Belser wants it to stay.

“Our readers are our customers,” Belser says. “I think of it like a local diner; they feed people locally, but they don’t feed everyone. If you want to eat at the diner you order eggs and pay the diner.”

Belser says the newspaper’s most popular feature is its school lunch menus, which it prints along with police blotters and hyperlocal stories in the East End that she says other media in town aren’t covering. That can include a photo page and story about Point Breeze’s Light Up Night, coverage of a middle school championship swim meet, or a meeting of the Squirrel Hill Bike-Ped committee. Its most recent edition is eight pages.

Belser and Print editor Brian Hyslop, former Post-Gazette business editor, had been thinking about launching a community newspaper for a while, perhaps post-retirement [Full disclosure: Belser was my colleague and Hyslop was my editor for part of my tenure at the Post-Gazette]. But when the Post-Gazette offered buyouts to employees last fall, the two decided it was time. So the buyout money from their former newspaper is helping fund Print.

The pair enlisted former PG colleagues Anita Dufalla to design pages and Elwin Green, founding editor of Homewood Nation, for coverage in that neighborhood. They have coworking space in the Beauty Shoppe in East Liberty.

Print relies on a news service for puzzles and feature content, and local freelance writers and photographers for the rest. All contributors are paid, Belser says.

“When we tell people what we’re doing, the universal reaction is ‘Oh I had a paper like that when I was growing up,'” Hyslop says. “There’s an emotional connection to the small-town newspaper.”

Print‘s editor and publisher believe they can build on that nostalgia in the East End while providing something that serves the community. As they say in the About section of their website, “Print reflects our faith in the era in which newspapers arrived at your door and you could clip out and post proudly the articles about your kids or business.”

Given the state of the newspaper industry, starting a new venture in the field may seem like a crazy idea. Both the Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review enacted work reductions last year, the PG in the form of buyouts, and the Trib in the form of buyouts and layoffs. Of course, the newspaper crisis extends far beyond Pittsburgh: in cities across the country newspapers that have failed to replace declining revenue from print advertising have reduced staff, reduced circulation or closed altogether.

According to the 2015 State of the News Media report from the Pew Research Center, newspapers’ revenue from print advertising has dropped precipitously in the past decade, from $46.7 billion in 2004 to $16.4 billion in 2014. The amount newspapers take in from digital ad revenue rose slightly over that time, from $1.5 billion in 2004 to $3.5 billion in 2014 the report found but is clearly still minuscule compared to print ad revenue.

That’s the challenge for larger papers, who Belser says “give away for free” too much of their content online. She declined to provide revenue and circulation figures, but Hyslop says since Print‘s target area is so focused on a small geographic area, the print ad revenue model is still viable and scales well.

“We don’t have a high bar to break even and make money,” he says. “We don’t have to have great readership numbers.”

For Hyslop, Print gives him the chance to continue working with young journalists. Belser says her temperament is more suited for the sales part of the business, and doing the kind of shoe-leather community outreach that used to be the hallmark of newspaper journalism.

“I love delivering the papers,” she says. “I love people telling me what they think of it and having them tell me ‘you need to cover this,’ about things they care about in their neighborhood.'”


Lauren Tarshis quoted in this CNN article

'Reading is not their passion'

What about those children in every classroom who aren't exciting about reading?

Lauren Tarshis found that they liked reading about volcanoes, hurricanes and other real-life events when she published those types of nonfiction stories in Storyworks, a classroom magazine she edits for third- and fourth-graders.

That's why she started writing "I Survived" historical fiction for Scholastic, telling about the destruction of Pompeii in A.D. 79, the Chicago Fire of 1871, Hurricane Katrina and even the September 11 attacks through the eyes of children as main characters. The child who was a Roman slave or a slave during the Civil War is fictional, but the details of their lives and events are true to the history of the time.

Tarshis encourages teachers to use her books to get children interested in multidimensional units about geography, geology, meteorology, history, poetry and more.

"It's been a wonderful surprise that kids of all types are fascinated by history, and they do like fast-paced plots and topics that are gripping," she said. "I get thronged by these fabulous little boys who have great ideas about a certain battle or detail in my books. And many of them springboard from my book into further research on their own."

Her series has more than 13 million copies in print since its June 2010 launch, and sales have grown an average of 25% on each successive book, Scholastic says.


Classmate Rabbi Gary Mazo in the news ...


Classmate Cathy (Lewis) Beaudoin in the news ...


Congratulations to classmate Jennifer (Loporcaro) Warner for achieving her dream of climbing Mt.McKinley!

From her Facebook page:
"For more than 20 years, ever since I moved to Alaska in 1991, I’ve wanted to climb Denali. On June 1, Les and I flew into the Kahiltna Glacier. We got snowed in a base camp, and camp 1, but climbed slowly and steadily up during the next 29 days, moving our 120 pounds of gear (each) up in stages. It was just us two, unguided (although Les guided on Denali for 12 years). It was beautiful, challenging, and amazing. We heard and saw countless avalanches, had a 5.8 earthquake, saw climbers with frostbite and HAPE, met some great people from around the world, and spent some beautiful nights camped in incredible places. We turned around at 18,500 as it was dangerously cold, and safety was more important than summiting for me. I’m extremely happy I did it, I don’t plan on trying again, and I highly recommend it for anyone with a sense of adventure and a love of the mountains."


Congratulations to our own Sam Gault for receiving the First Citizen Award from the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.


Maxine Bleiweis, Sam Gault: “1st Citizens Of Westport”

Posted on June 5, 2015


The 2015 STG Class of 1981 scholarship awards will be presented to Taylor Cusa ('14) and Micheal Bottone ('15) in the Staples libary at 5:30pm on June 9th. Aleda Santos Warren will once again be on hand to present the recipients with their awards.

(See Award Recipients page for more information about Taylor and Michael.)


After much thought, Traci, Aleda and Suzanne have decided to step down from the Staples Class of 1981 Reunion Committee.  They have loved working with the rest of the committe and are proud of our accomplishments, specifically the 2011 30th reunion and the development of the Class of 1981 gift for the Staples Tuition Grant Committee.  Traci, Aleda and Suzanne will be devoting  their energies to other areas of their lives, not the least of which will be their aging families. They have also expressed a desire to give other people a chance to plan and brainstorm new ideas for future reunions and the STG Class of 81 gift. 

On June 9th, Aleda will present the 1981 gift to the STG; this will be her final official act as member of the committee.  She has devoted enormous amounts of energy and thought to our committee and we hope you can join us on June 9th to thank her and wish her well as she turns her attention to her career, her mother, her husband and her sons. 

The rest of the committee extends their heartfelt thanks to all three for their time and dedication to the 30th reunion and the STG Class of 81 gift. They will be sorely missed.

If anyone is interested in joining the commitee, please contact one of the current members - Jeb Backus, Sharon Fogel, Andre Lambros, Jennifer Price Grimes, Eva Pastor or Mona Strick.

"Staples Grads Share" by Dan Woog
Photo by Pam Einarsen. From Left to Right:
Suzanne Sherman-Propp, Grace McDavid-Seidner, Maureen Estony, Aleda Santos Warren, Andre Lambros, Carson Einarsen, Traci Martin Provost, Jeb Backus, Michelle Muller, and Jill Muller.