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Student Recognition


Brandon Wingard

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Brandon Wingard participates in Pittsburgh Penguins Blind Ice Hockey

Brandon Wingard participates in Pittsburgh Penguins Blind Ice Hockey

Brandon Wingard, a 7th grader at Seneca Valley School District, is participating in Blind Ice Hockey, a Pittsburgh Penguins Program. Blind Ice Hockey is the same exhilarating, fast-paced sport as Ice Hockey with only one main difference – all of the athletes are blind or visually impaired. The most significant modification is that the sport features an adapted puck that makes noise, and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck. Athletes’ levels of vision range from legally blind to totally blind.

Robin Wingard, Brandon’s mother, was very nervous at first about Brandon playing hockey. With Brandon’s balance issues she didn’t know if he would able to skate without help. Within 30 minutes of getting on the ice and warming up, Brandon was skating on his own. “I am so proud of him,” says his mother through her tears. “He is so adventurous and will try anything. He amazes me.”

Robin believes that being in this Hockey League has helped her son. She tells us that “He still gets a bit nervous stepping on to the ice every time, but he keeps trying. Brandon is learning to skate, to stand up after falling, and is developing puck-handling skills. He is also learning how to communicate with other players on the ice.”

Jessica Sloan, Brandon’s vision and orientation mobility teacher, said: “I have known Brandon for many years and am so excited to see him get to experience playing hockey.” Ms. Sloan goes on to say “He is in the developmental program where he is learning the skills of hockey. I was unsure what to expect from this program, but after only a few practices Brandon was able to skate, participate in the skating drills, pass the puck with accuracy, block the puck from passing him, as well as shooting pucks into the goal!”

“I am so proud of Brandon for trying and succeeding at a new sport”, said Sloan. “He has a positive attitude, a great sense of humor, is an astounding athlete, and is an amazing kid!”

What does Brandon think of this? “This is cool!!” You can hear the excitement in Brandon’s voice when he talks about Ice Hockey. “We get great really cool Penguins (branded) equipment. The coaches and volunteers are nice to work with and we get to practice on the same ice as the Penguins. I like being on a team with other kids who are like me.”

Brandon, we are all very proud of you!! Keep up the good work!

Sarah Widenhofer Wins Cookie Bake-off

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Sarah Widenhofer Wins Cookie Bake-Off

Beverly's Birthdays, a Pittsburgh, nonprofit organization that provides birthday cheer for children experiencing homelessness and families in need, sponsored a Cookie Bake-off on November 4, 2017, at Doubletree Hotel in Cranberry. 

When Sarah Widenhofer, a 9th grader at Seneca Valley Intermediate High School, heard of the bake-off she knew she had to enter her famous Chocolate Confetti Dreams Cookies. She came home with Best Cookie in the Chocoholic Division. 

Once Sarah entered the contest she had to bake eleven dozen of her famous cookies and submit them to be judged. At the competition, after she set up her table with all of her delicious cookies, she waited for the judges to come around. There was stiff competition with 36 contestants vying for the title. The cookies were judged on appearance, creativity, and flavor. It was a lot of work, but worth it, when she won Best Cookie in the Chocoholic Division. One of the judges for this competition was WQED's own Chef Chris Fennimore. He is pictured below with Sarah.

Sarah won a custom Golden Champion Apron, an autographed copy of The Cookie Table by Chef Chris Fennimore, a huge cupcake, and a gift card. Not to mention bragging rights!

Congratulations Sarah! We are proud of you!