Dunmorean of the Month: Noah Barton

Noah Barton

On the soccer field, Noah Barton has been a fierce competitor for three years. He is sitting out his senior year to an ACL injury. (Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography)

By Maureen Hart

Noah Barton, a 17-year-old senior at Dunmore High School, has experienced amazing highs and devastating lows during his four year career on the school’s varsity soccer team.

Noah, who started every game since his freshman year playing on the varsity team, suffered a torn right ACL playing indoor soccer last February 18.

As a result, despite all those starts and his phenomenal play, Noah has had to sit out his entire senior season.

While he admits this development has been difficult, the young man is making the best of a bad situation by attending every varsity game and assisting Coach Chris Phillips.

And Barton does have the excitement of watching his 14-year-old brother, Aden (also a starter as a freshman on varsity), although he is disappointed not to have the experience of actually playing with his brother at DHS.

“After the injury, it was very difficult for me” Noah admits. “I gained weight and felt so frustrated.”  

His reconstructive surgery was completed on April 12, but he will not be cleared to play again until February, 2019.

For his senior year, despite the injury, Noah was selected as a team captain, and he says he enjoys the new experience of coaching.

“I have always wanted to be helping the team, seeing it grow,” he points out. “I’m just forced to do that in a different way this year.”

Noah Barton and brother

Noah Barton, right, is shown with his younger brother, Aden, who is also a member of the varsity soccer team.

Noah, who is the son of Heather Evans, a director of Scranton Counseling center (“She’s a huge fan,” he confides), also gives credit to the big role his stepfather, Dan Evans, has played in his life. “He would do anything for us,” Noah says. “He is a great human being.”

“My mother has been such a huge influence in my life,” Noah explains. “We are very close, and she has taught me  to respect other people, to have good values, and how to act in various situations.”

The family resides on West Grove Street, and their lawn is dotted with signs supporting both boys and their team.

Another influence has been Coach Phillips. “Among other things, he has taught me to be more of a team player, and how to control my anger. I used to get so upset over fouls!”

One of his favorite memories of his high school career was the first time he scored in a home game during his freshman year. “I can remember exactly how it happened,” he confides. “It was a long goal, from about 30 yards out, and I scored in the top right corner of the goal.”

Noah Evans3

DHS soccer player Noah Barton is shown doing physical therapy at Allied Services to heal the ACL injury that has kept him off the field this season.

He went on to score 17 goals, the most on the team, during his sophomore year, and as a junior, he scored 18 goals and made the All Stars first team. One of his favorite memories was scoring two goals against the long-time undefeated Blue Ridge soccer team.

Noah’s interest in soccer began when he was five or six years old. He began playing competitively at age 12 or 13 on a travel team, and says he liked the game from the very beginning. At Dunmore High, he started as a defensive midfielder, but then became a forward.

“I just love soccer,” he says. “It consumes my whole life–whether I’m watching games, playing or learning the game. Even my job revolves around soccer.” Noah works at Soccer Plus in Clarks Summit.

After a lifetime passion for soccer, Noah envisioned playing his senior season with his brother, and having colleges take a look at him on the field. Instead, he has been doing physical therapy and working out every morning at 5:30. He completed the Race for the Cure last month, demonstrating his great progress since the injury.

Some colleges are showing interest, so Noah is sending out videos from past seasons. He is looking forward to next year, and says it will be a decision based on where he wants to go to school and who wants him to play.

Noah’s mother has seen him go through all of the ups and downs, and she says, “He was very down about the injury, but he is getting better as he is able to be more active.

“Naturally, it’s devastating when something like this happens, especially during the senior season. But Noah is trying to put it into perspective and go forward with a positive attitude.”

Noah Barton at AlliedAs Heather notes, “This has been heartbreaking for the whole family, because Noah had worked so hard. But we know it could be much worse. He could have a serious illness or something. This is something he can come back from.”

Naturally, Noah passes some of his time watching professional soccer, and his favorite team is Real Madrid. He became interested in the team when Cristiano Rinaldo was playing in Madrid.

“My family descent is Portuguese, so I liked that he was from Portugal,” Noah says. “But more than that, I think he is such a good team player and has a great winning attitude.”

As he finishes his senior year at Dunmore High School and looks ahead to college, Noah says he will really miss the school, and especially his teachers.

“I love Dunmore,” he concludes. “It’s the best place to be.”

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Dunmoreans of the Month: Sam and Marlene Sebastianelli

Casa Quattro

Marlene Sebastianelli opened a branch of her Case Quatro winery right next door to her husband Sam’s Pharmacy.

By Maureen Hart

Sam and Marlene Sebastianelli may reside in the Mid Valley, but their lives have become intrinsically woven into the fabric of Dunmore.

Sam, a 2001 graduate of Wilkes University with a pharmacy degree, is in his 15th year as owner and pharmacist at Dunmore Pharmacy, located at 702 N. Blakely Street.

Marlene, who holds a degree in speech pathology as well as an MBA from Marywood University, is owner of Case Quattro Winery, which just opened a branch store right next door to her husband’s pharmacy.

“It’s a long story,” Marlene, who also has a certificate in nursing home administration, explains, when asked how the two ended up in such contrasting businesses in Dunmore.

For Sam, son of Sam and Helen Sebastianelli of Jessup, it began after he graduated from Scranton Prep and Wilkes and took a position at a Tunkhannock pharmacy.

“I traveled back and forth for about 18 months, and it was a long drive, especially in the winter,” Sam recalls. “So I decided to look for something closer to home, which led to my opening a Medigap Pharmacy, which then became Dunmore Pharmacy.”

For Marlene, daughter of John Stranieri and Patricia Heffley, the path which evantually led her to winemaking grew out of a serious encounter with breast cancer.

“I was working in nursing home administration, which is a stressful 24-7 kind of job,” she explains. “When I got breast cancer, I was ill for a long time, with chemo and radiation, and a grueling series of 13 surgeries.”

At the worst point, Marlene suffered an infection during reconstruction surgery, and for awhile, it was thought she might not survive.

“I mean, it was at the point where my kids said their goodbyes,” she says. “But I got to the ICU in time, and I feel very lucky to be here now.”

Wanting to keep herself occupied after the long bout of illness, Marlene decided she and Sam should take a wine course together. She discovered that she had a knack for the wine making process, and instead of opening another pharmacy in a building on their property on Main Street in Peckville, Marlene opted to open Case Quattro three and a half years ago.

She is mostly self-taught, and says the most important thing to know is the age of the grapes when they are picked. She orders most of her grapes and juice from California and Italy.

When her new business began to take off, Marlene made a choice to leave her stressful nursing home career to work full-time in her winery, where she serves as main winemaker and marketing director.

At the Peckville site, Marlene has hosted graduation parties, reunions, showers, comedy nights, craft events, and wine tastings, and has sponsored wine bus tours to local wineries (the next one is scheduled for Sept. 8–call 570-382-3855 for details).

Sebastianellis

Sam and Marlene Sebastianelli are shown outside Dunmore Drug Store, which Sam has been running for the past 15 years.

When the location next to Dunmore Pharmacy became available — it was previously the home of a gift store and a tobacco shop–Marlene decided to take another plunge this summer and open a second wine shop in Dunmore.

“It just seemed like a good opportunity,” she explains. Her husband, who is usually very busy at the pharmacy, is supportive of his wife’s enterprise, and both enjoy the opportunity to pop over to see each other when there is any lull during the day.

Marlene is using her experience at the original location to fashion ideas for the new place, starting with Happy Hour Fridays each week from 5 to 7 p.m. She also hosts open mike nights, and encourages visitors to order or bring food to the store to enjoy with their wine selections during special events.

She stocks a wide variety of more than 36 wines, from dry whites (including Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling); dry reds (her personal favorites are Oak Merlot and Pinot Noir), as well as sweet reds and whites; blush (White Zinfandel, Pink Moscato, Sangria), and Sweet Fruits including strawberry, peach, apple, pear, pomegranate, blackberry, raspberry and more.

The name for Case Quattro, which means “four houses” in Italian, was inspired by Sam’s family history. He has visited northwest Italy, where there are four Sebastianelli family houses on Isola Fossara. Marlene chose that as the name of the winery, and secured an artist to draw a mural of the four houses on the wall of the new establishment.

Sam is active in the Dunmore Lions Club, and his wife also likes to help the community. She recently raised $9,000 holding a benefit for a Dunmorean friend who has Stage 4 lupus, and she likes to use the winery to raise monies for local sports teams.

With the help of a few part-time employees, Marlene keeps the Dunmore location open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 1 p.m.. to 9 p.m. She is open on Sundays by appointment and four events.

The Sebastianellis have been married for seven years, and Marlene has two teenage daughters, Danielle and Jessica, who attend Scranton Prep. In addition to her busy career, Marlene has also been finding time to take her oldest daughter, who is interested in political science, to visit prospective colleges, including Temple, St. Joseph’s and Holy Cross.

“Danielle, who will be 18 in October, is very excited to be able to vote for the first time,” Marlene reveals.

 

Dunmorean of the Month: Nicole Guzenski

Nicole GuzenskiBy Steve Svetovich

Nicole Guzenski, Dunmore, received a Fulbright United States Student Program award to conduct research in India.

She received the award from the United States Department of the State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Daughter of Bill and Theresa Barrasse, Nicole, 32, is a 2004 Bishop O’Hara graduate. She received a B.S. in communications and minor in philosophy from Keystone College in 2008 and an M.S. in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College in Maryland.

Her dad is the owner/operator of the famous Billy B’s restaurant/bar in Dunmore.

Her husband Michael is a teacher at Delaware Valley High School in Matamoras.

Nicole will conduct research in India as part of a project to study women’s empowerment in the context of climate change mitigation.

She will conduct documentation specifically on programming that is pioneering the work of women-led climate resilient farming. Nicole will seek to research a local community’s use of traditional ecological knowledge in creative adaptive strategies towards modern problems along with the incorporation of gender inclusive practices such as female entrepreneur ships and leadership roles and their impacts of a community’s resilience and capability to thrive.

Nicole will leave for Tune, India Saturday, August 18. She will be funded through the Fulbright Program for nine months, but plans on staying in India for a year. She will travel on her own for the final three months of her one year stay.

Her husband Michael will visit in December and June and then will spend time traveling with her.

“I am very excited to go back to India,” Nicole said. “I was there 10 years ago. I studied the agricultural program there before. I am a little nervous, but very much looking forward to it. This is a big change for me now, but an incredible opportunity.”

Nicole talked about her future goals after she returns back home from India.

“I really love working with the immigrant community in Scranton. I want to continue that work. I want to work with women in the community. I would like to work with immigrant mothers. There is just something about cultural sharing that not everyone is exposed to. I might do a cooking class for the community.”

Guzenski

Mike and Nicole Guzenski are shown hiking the trails of Cinque Terre, Italy.

Nicole is one of over 1,900 United States citizens who will conduct research, teach English and provide expertise abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year through the Fulbright United States Student Program.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and people of other countries. The program is funded through the annual appropriation made by the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of long-term interests of the United States.

Dunmorean of the Month - garba

Nicole and Mike Guzenski celebrate at an Indian Garba Festival in Scranton.

Fulbright alumni received distinction in many fields, including 59 who were awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 who served as a head of state or government.

“The culture in India is so robust and intense,” Nicole said. “There is no other place on the planet like India.

“I have done a lot of traveling in Eastern countries. The people in India are truly amazing. They have a belief that their visitors are like a God. They are very welcoming and hospitable. They like to cook and feed their guests. And they are great cooks.

“They like to share everything with people. Food is a big part of it.”

The adventurous Nicole currently teaches classes at Marywood University and Northampton Community College in Tannersville. She also teaches English as a second language at United Neighborhood Center in Scranton.

Dunmorean of the Month: Rachel Walsh

rachel walshBy Steve Svetovich

Rachel Walsh was near perfect on the mound all season.

Daughter of Kevin and Michele Walsh, she seems to have a bright future on the softball diamond.

With her dad Kevin Walsh coaching the team, Rachel, 10, led the Dunmore 10 and Under Miss E League team to the Valley Junior Petunia League title with four magnificent pitching performances.

And that earned her tournament MVP honors.

Not that it was a surprise. After all, Rachel has a 21-3 pitching record (regular season and playoffs), over 100 strikeouts and miniscule 0.12 ERA.

She has been playing Miss E League softball for four years.

Representing Nina’s Pizza, Dunmore, Rachel pitched four games, winning three of them, in the tournament. She pitched a 3-hitter, no-hitter, 1-hitter and no-hitter. She lost the 1-hitter, 1-0, to a pitcher who fired a no-hitter for Dickson City’s Total Collision.

She then came back and pitched a no-hitter for Nina’s to defeat Total Collision, 2-1, in the championship.

Rachel struck out 9 in just four innings in the first game of the tournament. She followed that up with 12, 10 and 14 strikeouts in the next three games.

There are 13 players on the title team. Two of those players, Aubrey Mizenko and Ava Walsh (Rachel’s little sister) were call ups.

The other 11 members of the team besides Rachel are Amelia Ortiz, Natalie Mecca, Sydney Harding, Mia Irving, Sadie Ondek, Ella Brier, Jaclyn Brown, Maddie Pierce, Bethany Masurak and Amanda Dempsey.

“This is just a great group of girls,” said coach Kevin Walsh. “All of the girls put their time in and are very dedicated to the sport. The girls are eager to learn. I could not ask for a better group.”

team photo copy

Members of the Nina’s Pizza team in Dunmore include, front row, from left: Amanda Dempsey, Sydney Harding, Ella Brier, Sadie Ondek and Maddie Pierce. Second row, same order: Natalie Mecca, Amelia Ortiz, Rachel Walsh, Jaclyn Brown and Mia Irving. Back row, Coaches Nick Mecca, Kevin Walsh and Pat Irving. Not pictured are Bethany Mazurak, Ava Walsh and Aubrey Mizenko.

Nina’s Pizza, 14-2 during the regular season, also won the Icebreaker Tournament, with Rachel pitching in those games.

The Valley Junior Petunia League has 32 teams, so winning the tournament is very impressive. There is a lot of competition.

Many of the girls on the 10 and Under Nina’s Pizza team have been playing together for the past four years.

“These girls have a lot of dedication to each other,” said coach Walsh. “They have a tremendous work ethic and team unity.

“It was a total team effort with different kids contributing at different times to help win a game.

“The most important thing is that the kids are enjoying it.”

Rachel, also an excellent student, is going into the fifth grade. Coach Walsh is assisted by Nick Mecca and Pat Irving.

Rachel’s younger sister Ava, only 6, already is showing signs of being an outstanding player. She also contributed to the championship.

Rachel loves the game and is looking forward to many years ahead playing softball. Remember the name. In the meantime, Rachel is just having a lot of fun.

“We’re proud of her,” said coach Walsh. “We are proud of all the girls on the team.”