Caroline Fecek, chairwoman of the Taste of Italy wine tasting event is shown presenting the Last Box Charley Award to Richard Dascenzo, whose Mango Win won him the distinction.
The award is named in memory of Charley Britvich who, when helping his friends crush grapes, had the honor of adding the last box to the crusher. The winner of this award was decided by a vote of the guests at the TAste of Italy wine tasting.
Brownsville High School has fallen on hard times recently in football, but the school has a rich gridiron history. Steve Garban was a big part of that history in the early 1950's. Garban starred for the Brownies in football and excelled on the baseball diamond. Garban was on some tough Brownsville squads coached by Warner Fritsch. "There were some very good athletes at Brownsville at the time," Garban opined. "When you think of Andy Sepsi, Don Bartolomucci, Wayne Gemas and Buck Grover, we had some talent."
Garban has some fond memories of the Brownsville coaching staff."Warner Fritsch was the head coach," Garban recalled. "Charlie Slick was the assistant and he was very prominent in my life. He did a lot of things, once I started playing football my sophomore year. He encouraged me to change from the commercial to the academic curriculum and he thought I might have a chance to go to college and obviously my family had never thought anything about college back then in a coal mining patch. But Charlie convinced me and my mother that's what I needed to do and that was probably the turning point of my life. It allowed me then to go to college. "I also played baseball for Charlie as did Gemas and Grover. Charlie was the baseball coach and he went on to become principal of the school and he became an assistant coach at California University of Pennsylvania."
"It was special," Garban explained. "The Mon Valley had a lot of great athletes and it was a way of life. Friday night football was huge. Redstone was the big rival back then and we were only three or four miles apart. Uniontown was a big rivalry also and they had some great teams back then." Garban at 6-2 and 190 pounds was captain and center-linebacker for the Brownies. He was All-Fayette County and All-Big Six as a junior and a senior and was All-WPIAL as a senior. When Garban graduated from Brownsville, several schools pursued him. "I visited probably 12 or 15 schools," Garban recalled. "Earl Bruce was a big reason that I went to Penn State and Charlie Slick influenced that decision as well. It was never a mistake because I've never left Penn State." Garban played freshman football at Penn State in 1955 and then was on teams that posted records of 6-2-1 in 1956 and 6-3 in 1957. His senior season he was captain of the 1958 squad that finished 6-3-1. "Joe Paterno was an assistant at that time and he watched me play baseball. He also said that I was the slowest guy that he'd ever seen running from home plate to first base and he says it often."
Garban played in a couple of All-Star games after wrapping up his career at Penn State. He played in the North-South Shrine Game in Miami, Fla., and the Copper Bowl in Tucson, Ariz. Garban got some feelers from the pros, but his career ended after his playing days at Penn State. "I had a chance to try out for the Chicago Bears, but I didn't. I knew that I wasn't big enough," Garban said. Garban went to work for US Steel, but came back to Penn State for his masters and he accepted a job as ticket manager. He spent the rest of his 33-year career at Penn State. He rose to increasingly responsible positions. He was an officer the last 22 years of his career, 10 as controller and 12 as Senior Vice President/Treasurer, oversaw Penn State's nationally recognized athletic program, and its entrance into the Big Ten. He was instrumental in the development of The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, The Nittany Lion Inn, the Bryce Jordan Center and the Penn State Research Park and currently is a member of The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Campaign Committee.
As a respected financial advisor, Garban served as Treasurer and on the Board of The Pennsylvania College of Technology, The Pennsylvania Research Corporation, The Corporation for Penn State and the College Football Association. He is past president of the Smeal College of Business Alumni Association, the Lion's Paw Alumni Association, and the Quarterback Club. He is listed in Who's Who of American Education and Who's Who in Finance and Industry. In tribute to his outstanding service and contributions to the University, Garban received the Lion's Paw Medal Award in 2008, the John E. Wilkinson Award for Administrative Excellence in 1993, and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1995. He was elected to the Mid Mon Valley All-Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Garban was elected to the Board of Trustees by the alumni for a three-year term beginning July 1, 1998 and has been reelected for succeeding terms. He was elected vice chair of the Board of Trustees in 2007 and reelected in 2008.
"I've been here over 50 years," Garban stated. "Penn State's been good to me. I've enjoyed it immensely - for a kid from Grindstone as you look back it's been a long haul and very rewarding one. I owe a lot to Penn State." Retired and living in State College, Pa, Garban, 70, is married to his second wife Mary Ann. He has three children, Donna, Andrew and Douglas. Garban still has a soft spot for Fayette County. "No question - it was a great place to grow up," Garban said. "You learned the values of life and you learned how to work hard and you learned to be honest and truthful. You learned a lot of things in those coal mining patches."
Our first social gathering after our 50th reunion organized by Carol Caputo turned out great.20 classmates plus spouses showed up at Hugo’s for a fine meal of stuffed pork chops, potatoes, string beans, pasta, salad and ice cream.We spent quality time stuffing our guts and socializing with each other. Fun was had by all. Bernie Linza, who traveled from Maryland, gave everyone a gift (potpourri) that she purchased in Hancock on her way to Brownsville.
We plan to continue having these local social gatherings for the class of 1958 for those who are able to attend and the next event will be held April 23, 2009 at Hoss Restaurant in Belle Vernon.Gary Thomas suggested that we also plan to have a class picnic during the summer which everyone agreed to.It is so nice to keep in touch and get together with classmates during the year.So hopefully, more classmates will be able to attend the next event.
While researching Brownsville Area High School mascot info, I found this website:BAHS Alumni (my school reunited), where faculty and student alumni can register and provide their info. The website includes alumni lists, discussions, galleries, classes, profiles, reunions, class surveys, military service spot light and the lounge. It also has an area for California, Carmichaels and Frazier high schools.
Found the following info about BAHS mascot from Glenn Tunney articles:
Also, when did Brownsville High School athletic teams change from being called ‘Brownies’ to their present name, ‘Falcons? I believed the Falcon mascot was adopted for Brownsville athletic teams when Redstone and Brashear Joint school districts merged to form the Brownsville Area School District.I have wondered over the years why the Falcon was chosen as the Brownsville mascot, since Connellsville Area High School athletic teams are also called the Falcons.I wonder which came first, and who chose the Falcon mascot for Brownsville?Do we have a Brownsville reader who can shed light on the subject?
In 1933, the first year of FDR's New Deal, Brownsville and South Brownsville boroughs merged to create a new deal of their own, Brownsville Borough. The Class of 1935 the first to graduate from the newly created Brownsville High School, said Brownsville historian Glenn Tunney. With the creation of the new entity, Brownsville High School's mascot became, alliteratively and logically, the Brownies, with nary a connection to those Brownies in Cleveland. Nearly a quarter century later, in January 1958, amid considerable local discord, Brownsville and West Brownsville boroughs, and Brownsville, Luzerne and Jefferson townships merged to form the John A. Brashear Joint School District. When the merger became official on July 1, 1958, it immediately became the largest school district in Fayette County.
Even with the name change, the mascot remained the Brownies, and its athletic teams sported school colors of blue and white. South Brownsville's school colors, incidentally, had been red and blue. Brashear was a familiar name in Brownsville, a prominent family, added Tunney, who taught history for more than 33 years at Brownsville. John A. Brashear (1840-1920), Tunney explained, was an astronomer and telescope maker born in Brownsville. Assisted by his wife, Phoebe, Brashear made telescopes in a coal shed in their backyard. Although Brashear was successful in producing his telescopes, he was unable to find local financial backing. So he sought investors in Pittsburgh, where considerable funding was readily available. "Even though he was born in Brownsville and made it his home, he was and is identified with Pittsburgh more than with his native Brownsville," Tunney said.
With school district mergers economically necessary in the 1960s, another union followed: The Redstone Township School District and the John A. Brashear Joint School District merged to form the Brownsville Area School District in 1966, creating the district as it exists today. In 1967, the new combined Brownsville Area High School celebrated its first graduating class. Both Redstone and John A. Brashear Joint high schools graduated their last classes in 1966.
With a new identity, the Brownsville Area High School athletic teams adopted a new mascot and became known as the Falcons, with black and white the school colors. Redstone High School's athletic teams had been known as the Blackhawks, and their school colors were black and white, confirmed Sam Bill, band director at the time of the merger. Tunney said he "found it interesting" that the new school would have the same colors as Redstone High School. "Perhaps," Tunney surmised, "this was a gesture toward the residents of Redstone Township, since the new high school was located near Brownsville and the new district would be known as Brownsville, with no reference to Redstone."
In spite of the union, ill feelings remained between Brashear's Brownies and Redstone's Blackhawks, bitter rivals prior to merging. The rivalry was often evident for months after the jointure. "Students from Redstone and Brownsville actually separated themselves right within the school," said Tunney. "At basketball games, they even sat at opposite sides of the gym." However, within a year after the merger, those old rivalries between Redstone and Brownsville began to subside. They were virtually nonexistent by the following spring's baseball season. And the black-and-white Falcons have been soaring ever since.
Please provide any info you may have about this subject.