Hines Ward presents 31 High School Student athletes with Positive Athlete Scholarships



The Senator John Heinz History Center and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum hosted the eighth annual Positive High School Athlete Awards on Monday, June 17.  Student athletes representing 31 different boys’ and girls’ high school sports along with two coaches and North Allegheny High School were honored by the former Steelers great Hines Ward.  Over $16,000 in scholarships were awarded to the winners.

Close to 1,000 nominations from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers, and parents were submitted by a total of 150 Western Pennsylvania high schools. Positive Athlete was created as a movement for more positivity in youth sports.  In addition to excellence on the field, each nominated Positive Athlete was required to show characteristics such as an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time, and realizing that the team is more important than the individual.

“I circle this date on my calendar every year because I get a chance to meet kids who inspire me to be a better person,” said Ward. “These kids are approaching life the right way with a positive attitude. They are involved in charitable causes, have already learned the meaning of giving back at an early age, and many have overcome difficult circumstances and remained positive.” 

Below is a list of the 2018-2019 award winners:

  • Football                        Levi Jordan                   Bentworth
  • Football                        Andrew Engel               Canon-McMillan
  • Girls Volleyball              Julia Fiedor                   Thomas Jefferson
  • Boys Volleyball             Nick Bridges                 North Allegheny
  • Softball                        Elizabeth Ohorodnyk     Beaver Falls
  • Boys Cross Country       Darion Gregory             Smethport Area
  • Girls Cross Country       Elizabeth Simms           Butler 
  • Cheerleading                 Isabella Stoll                 Plum
  • Boys Basketball            Leonard Robinson III      Clairton
  • Girls Basketball             Kaitlyn Lyons                Central Valley
  • Wrestling                      Matthew Ferraro            North Catholic
  • Boys Swimming            Brent Brewster              Fox Chapel
  • Girls Swimming             Aria Eppinger                Winchester Thurston
  • Gymnastics                   Hannah Schepner          Hampton
  • Boys Soccer                 Connor Anderson          Pine-Richland
  • Girls Soccer                  Julia Chakos                 Trinity
  • Boys Lacrosse              Daniel Kovalan              Mount Lebanon
  • Girls Lacrosse               Samantha Louis            South Fayette
  • Boys Tennis                  Khalil Frazier                 Blackhawk
  • Girls Tennis                   Ashley Pesarsick           Norwin
  • Boys Track                    Hunter Boyd                 Mars
  • Girls Track                    Mia Anthony                  Rochester
  • Boys Golf                     Gregory Hensh              Laurel Highlands
  • Girls Golf                      Lexi Tofanelli                 Seneca Valley
  • Baseball                       Dominic Giallonardo      Mount Pleasant
  • Field Hockey                 Alena Lateef                 The Ellis School
  • Ice Hockey                   Bailey Julian                  Hempfield Area
  • Boys Multi-Sport           Gregory Guzzo              Valley
  • Girls Multi-Sport            Kierra Shreffler              Kiski Area
  • Rowing                         Kyle Pollock                 Upper St. Clair
  • Dance                           Madalyn Gorgacz          Union
  • Boys Coach                  Darryl Wiley                  Nazareth Prep
  • Girls Coach                   Jane Bock                    Brownsville


In addition to the individual awards, North Allegheny High School was honored as the Most Positive High School, in recognition of how the school has supported the Positive Athlete Pittsburgh program over the years, and for the high number of quality nominations they provided this year. 

In addition to the awards event at the Heinz History Center, this year’s winners were recognized on the field at the Pittsburgh Pirates–Detroit Tigers game on Tuesday, June 18, at PNC Park.  UPMC also arranged for behind-the-scenes tours of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

The Wilson Group “Positive Solutions Award” – Given to a student-athlete who has helped others on their team, school and/or community create a positive solution to a difficult situation. The winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship.



Positive Athlete Pittsburgh is a movement featuring high character current and former professional athletes, led by former Steelers star and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward, who are established and credible role models to young athletes. Positive Athlete is an umbrella brand for all athletes who are marking a positive contribution to their communities, overcoming difficult circumstances with a positive attitude, and believe a positive attitude is essential to their success. Over $150,000 in college scholarships have been given away through Positive Athlete Pittsburgh over the past 7 years.  Positive Athlete Pittsburgh’s website (http://positiveathlete.org) tells positive stories about the kind of role models our young athletes should aspire to be.


The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania, presents American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection.  The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum is a museum within a museum, comprehensively presenting the region’s remarkable sports story through hundreds of artifacts and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages.  The History Center and Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District, and are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The History Center’s museum system includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in historic Point State Park; and Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella, Pa., in Washington County.  More information is available at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.