Chartiers Valley students unveil WWII memorial
A new memorial to local men who died in World War II was unveiled at Chartiers Valley High School on May 23 during a program titled “The Legacy Lives on...Remembering Local Heroes of WWII.”
At the beginning of the school year, a plaque bearing the names of 17 local soldiers who lost their lives in World War II was found in the basement of the school. The plaque had once hung in the now-closed Rennerdale School.
When the plaque was first discovered, Superintendent Dr. Brian White tasked social studies teacher Robert Rodrigues to find students to help figure out exactly who the men on the plaque were.
“We’ve been working really hard for six months,” Mazzarini said.
“It’s been part of the community for so long,” said Kevin McGoogan, a junior at Chartiers Valley who also helped to research the background information on the men.
Rachel Jones, Mitchell McDermott and Lauren Bittner were also on the research team.
“I learned they all grew up in my neighborhood,” said McDermott.
“It was interesting how young they all were,” McGoogan said. “All of these guys had an interesting story.”
“It gave us the opportunity to learn things we wouldn’t experience in the classroom,” McDermott said.
Designing and constructing the actual monument on which the plaque is now placed was also tasked to Chartiers Valley students.
Student Jamie Shafer of Chartiers Valley designed the memorial. She is enrolled in the school’s CAD program and was instructed by Chuck Barber.
Students Zach Farrow and Josh Was are Chartiers Valley students enrolled in the masonry program at Parkway West Career and Technical School. Farrow and Was, along with their instructor Charlie Sweeney, built the brick structure on which the plaque rests.
Anna D’Acierno and Rebecca Fallert, also students, designed the brochure handed out at the ceremony.
At the dedication ceremony, students had the opportunity to read aloud the information gathered about each of the soldiers.
“Almost 73 years ago, our nation was met with the supreme challenge of a world war,” Rodrigues said at the ceremony. “Over 400,000 soldiers perished. Our own community was represented by 17 young Collier Township men who served our country and paid the ultimate price. Today is clearly a day of celebration as we honor the brief lives of these young men.”
“This memorial is a permanent fixture,” White said. “It is our intention that this plaque from the second world war is only the beginning,” White said, adding that he hopes to have an annual event honoring area soldiers from each American war.
The soldiers listed on the plaque are: Leonard Facciotti, Marines; Joseph Garin, Army; Kenneth Heasley, Army; John King, Army; Owen Lewis, Marines; Stanley Malinowski; United States Armored Tank BN; Russell McConnell, Army; James McGrogan, Army Air Corps; Charles McLaughlin, Army; Stanley Polanski, Army; John Stripp, Army; George Trumpeter, Navy; John Turner, Army; Harry Walls, Air Force; Frank Wilson, Navy; George Woods, Army; and Robert Yeager, Air Force.