Dunmorean of the Month: Marlena Pegula

marlenaBy Steve Svetovich

Marlena Pegula is busy with academics, sports and clubs, but her biggest honor came in the beginning of her senior year when she was named Miss Buck at Dunmore High School.

Daughter of Diane and Mark Pegula, Marlena is a four-year member of the volleyball and softball teams at Dunmore. She is a four-year manager of the girls’ basketball team.

She is a member of the Spanish Club, French Club, SADD (students against destructive decisions), TACT, National Honor Society, Health Careers Club, Earth Club, Drama Club, Art Club, Band, Chorus and Show Choir. She also helps with the costumes for school plays and has been a varsity basketball cheerleaders for two years And with all that extracurricular activity, Marlena still puts academics first. She has an impressive 93 academic average. Her favorite subject is Calculus.

A four-year starter on the softball team, she pitched, played outfield and third base for the Lady Bucks last season. She will concentrate more on pitching this year.

Humble in nature, Marlena takes her role as Miss Buck seriously.

“I am very honored and proud to represent my school in a very positive way,” she said. “My goal is to represent myself in a way that the younger students can look up to me. I want to help show the younger students to always do their best to succeed at what they want in school and in life.”

Marlena said she has learned how to balance her time with a busy schedule.

“I always find time for studies before anything else. Then I put the time in for sports and clubs.”

The scholar-athlete said her experience at Dunmore has been like no other. “It is an experience I will never forget. I have been very honored to go to Dunmore High School.”

The new Miss Buck said her parents have been huge mentors in her life.

“They always tell me to do my best at anything I attempt and to never give up on anything.”

Marlena said she enjoys listening to music in her spare time and the late Whitney Houston was always an inspiration. She would like to see Misterwives and The Lumineers in concert.

Her sister Marina, a sophomore softball player at Lackawanna College, played volleyball and softball for two years with Marlena at Dunmore. Marlena was also the basketball manager for two of the years her sister played on that team. “It was a lot of fun being with my sister,” she said.

Marlena would like to study pharmaceutical science at either the University of Sciences or Louisiana State University in college. She would also like to play softball in college.

“I want to become a pharmacist someday, work for a pharmacy and someday open my own pharmacy.”

In the meantime, Marlena will do her very best to represent all Dunmore students as Miss Buck. “I am just so very honored,” she said.

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Dunmorean of the Month: Nick Shoemaker

domBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior tackle Nick Shoemaker stands out.

And that’s because he goes the extra mile.

He’s not afraid to outwork any opponent.

He trains at New Breed Athletics when he’s not working out in the Dunmore weight room or on the football field with his teammates.

“I work out every single day, ” he said.  “I don’t miss a day, not even in the off season.”

And it pays off.

Son of Jim and Grace Shoemaker, Dunmore, Nick was a co-selection as a junior for the prestigious Hookey Reap Award. He received the award with Scranton Prep’s Kyle Polishan who was a senior.

“I was shocked when I heard about it,” said Nick.  “I didn’t know juniors could get that award.”

The senior stalwart, who has a 90 academic average, was also named All State as a defensive tackle last year. He was an All Regional selection and received the WNEP Dream Team Award at defensive tackle. He was an All League tackle.

For his strong efforts, Nick has been recruited by Division I colleges.

He will be playing football on a scholarship next year for Monmouth University in New Jersey.

“I’m really excited and looking forward to that,” he said.  “I will continue working hard in preparation for it. “

Nick talked about what it takes to be a success as a lineman.  “It takes hard work and dedication. You have to work out every day in the off season. Take no days off. “

With his hard work, he helped a Dunmore get off to a 4-0 start this season. “Our goal is to win the district playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Then we want to go as far as we can in the state playoffs. The goal is always to win it all.”

He talked about his future goals.

“I am looking forward to playing football in college. I want to major in criminal justice and become a state policeman.”

Nick said he enjoys music and would like to see ACDC in concert someday.

The tough lineman said he learned a lot from Dunmore veteran football coach Jack Henzes. “He taught me not to take anything for granted. And don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

Nick said his parents are huge supports. “They tell me to never give up. Keep trying hard. If you fail, then keep getting up.”

Nick said he is enjoying his senior year and loves the Dunmore experience.

“Going to Dunmore High School has been a tremendous experience. There is no school like this where you can get a great education and have this much fun at the same time.”

 

Dunmorean of the Month: Marina Pegula

Marina Pegula photo

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore graduate Marina Pegula is playing as much softball as she can while setting sights on a career in pharmacy.

Daughter of Mark and Diane Pegula, Dunmore, Marina is now in her sophomore year as a pre-Allied Health major at Lackawanna College.

She is a starting shortstop on the Lackawanna College softball team.

Marina, 19, played four years of softball at Dunmore a High School. She is a former all-star and started at shortstop for three years at Dunmore. She also played some third base under Dunmore softball coach Ryan Ferguson.

bucksThe scholar-athlete played basketball and volleyball and also was a football cheerleader at Dunmore.

Jeff Pittsman is her softball coach at Lackawanna. “Our team started to click last season,” Marina said. “I’m really looking forward to playing this season.”

She talked about what it takes to be a good shortstop.

“You need to be aware about what is going on during the game on the field at all times,” she said. “You can’t be overwhelmed. You have to stay calm and make the plays come to you. You can’t be psyched out by anything.”

Marina played travel softball from age nine through her sophomore year in high school. “It was a great experience,” she said. “It was great traveling state to state and even to Florida for the championships. I was away playing every weekend in the summer. It is a lot of fun and you learn a lot from the different teams and players.”

Marina said she learned a lot from her travel team coaches and Dunmore coach Ryan Ferguson. “Coach Ferguson taught us to be focused and put forth your best effort out there. The travel team coaches also taught me a lot about the game.”

The 2016 Dunmore graduate said she became interested in pharmacy after shadowing Tom DePietro at DePietro Family Pharmacy in Dunmore.

“He is a friend of my cousin, Jim Dartt. I really enjoyed the experience shadowing him and I was very good in chemistry in high school. So I decided on a pre-pharmacy major with a goal of going to pharmacy school.”

lccMarina had successful first year at Lackawanna doing well academically and hitting .334 while starting every game at shortstop on the softball team.

She hopes to continue her softball career after the coming season. “It will depend on where I go to school in my junior year. If the opportunity presents itself, I definitely want to continue playing.”

Marina talked about her future goals. “Well, my number one goal is to become a pharmacist. I would like to someday open my own pharmacy. I would like to play softball as long as I can in college. I like being a part of the team.”

Marina enjoys listening to music in her spare time. If she could see anyone in concert, she said, it would be the late Michael Jackson.

Her biggest supporters are her parents.

“My parents always tell me to do my best. They tell me to perform up to my capabilities both in academics and softball. They are very supportive, go to all of my softball games and that gives me a very comfortable feeling.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Mark Rinaldi

rinaldi

IN MEMORIAM: Mark J. Rinaldi, 54, passed away on Monday, July 10, at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

By Steve Svetovich

He had a passion for athletics, family and advocating for the Dunmore youth.

That’s what Dunmore athletic director Mark Rinaldi was about.

And the Dunmore community lost him much too soon when he died last month at 54 from an apparent heart attack.

Son of Sylvia Pisa Rinaldi and the late John J. Rinaldi, Mark had a lifelong love of sports. He graduated from Dunmore High School in 1981. He was part of a Big 11 title football team as a wide receiver-defensive back in 1978. He helped Dunmore win its first Lynett Memorial Basketball title in 1980 and Lackawanna League Southern Division title in 1981.

After receiving his B.S. in Education from East Stroudsburg University in 1985, he returned to Dunmore and began a long coaching and teaching career. His mentor was Dunmore legendary basketball coach Jack Kelly.

“He and Jack were very close and remained friends throughout the years,” said Michelle Rinaldi (no relation), Dunmore, whose sons Chris and Corey were Dunmore athletes.

“I know all of the student-athletes loved Mark. He would do anything for them. He was not a guy who smiled a lot. He had a serious look. But he had a reputation of always advocating for the student-athlete. I bet if you asked any student-athlete about him, you would hear nothing but positive stories about him. He was extremely well liked.”

A math teacher, Rinaldi served as a volunteer coach for Dunmore’s Eastern Football Conference Class A title team. He served for several years as an assistant football coach.

bucksA tireless worker dedicated to his craft, he became Dunmore’s head basketball coach in 1998-99 succeeding his mentor Jack Kelly. He was previously the assistant under Kelly.

He led Dunmore to a 93-63 record, including three Lynett titles, in six seasons.

During his time at Dunmore, he also served as junior varsity baseball coach and junior varsity track and field coach.

He became the Dunmore High School athletic director after the 2009-10 scholastic year. Again, he succeeded his mentor Jack Kelly.

And in that role, he did everything he could for the student-athlete. No problem was too big to solve.

Very generous with his time, he served over the years as an official clock operator at local football games, as site manager for state playoff events and as a high school and college official.

He made various contributions to the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association and also at the District 2 and PIAA levels. He was past president of the Lackawanna Football Conference, member of the District 2 committee and was chairperson of soccer and lacrosse.

Rinaldi was a strong family man who closely followed the academic and athletic careers of his two sons, John and Mark. John, a three-sport athlete at Dunmore, recently graduated from Binghamton University where he was a key member of the basketball team. Mark, a senior at Dunmore, is an all-star in soccer, football, basketball and track and field.

Rinaldi served Dunmore High School for over 30 years as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was dedicated to Dunmore.

His beloved wife, the former Annie Hubshman, also survives.