Dunmorean of the Month: Kayleigh Semion


kayleighBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduate Kayleigh Semion could have played Division II or III college basketball just about wherever she wanted, but her dream was to go to Penn State.

When she enrolled at Penn State she thought her basketball career could be over, but it wasn’t. Now the 2015 Times-Tribune Player of Year is really living her dream.

She is a key member of the Penn State University women’s club basketball team.

And while it is not Division I varsity level, this team plays a brand of highly competitive basketball with six to eight tournaments throughout the year. The team practices at least two hours three nights per week.

Daughter of Sherry Nicolais and step-daughter of Mark Nicolais, Kayleigh, 20, is a sophomore Kinesiology major with aspirations to eventually become a physical therapist.

An All Regional and second team All State point guard at Dunmore in her senior season, she had opportunities to play division II or III college basketball, but her dream was to attend Penn State.

Then the opportunity came to tryout for the club basketball team. The tryout was competitive and intense, but Kayleigh, a sophomore at Penn State, made the roster. Now she gets to attend Penn State and play basketball.

With over 1,200 career points at Dunmore, she quickly became a key member of the club basketball team. She averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game in her senior season at Dunmore and is playing that same type of game for the Penn State club team. She averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 assists mostly coming off the bench for the club team this season.

She helped her Penn State club team place in third place in the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association Championship tournament last month at Ohio State University. Her team beat Virginia Tech, Ohio University and the University of Connecticut, but lost to Air Force. She came off the bench to score 13 points against Virginia Tech.

Kayleigh was named to the All-Tournament team following the Regional Championship Tournament at Boston University earlier this year. Her Penn State club team won that tournament.

“It is very competitive basketball,” she said. ” It is on the level of division II or III college basketball. We practice hard and get to go away to games. We get to practice all the time. The games are highly competitive. The players love to compete. It is a terrific experience. And it is great representing Penn State.”

Breana Toro, former Lackawanna League all-star from Abington Heights, is a member of her club team.

Two of the girls on the club team were promoted to the Penn State varsity roster after injuries to players last season. Most of the girls on the club team attend the varsity games.

And Kayleigh is even a manager for the Penn a State varsity team.

“I will do anything I can to stay in the game,” she said. “I love basketball.”

The scholar-athlete has an impressive 3.8 grade point average at Penn State. She takes a lot of what Dunmore coach Ben O’Brien instilled in her. “He taught me about work ethic . He is really into what he does as a coach. He really helped me as a basketball player.”

Kayleigh also ran track at Dunmore and was a twirler.

She and her two sisters Brittany and Meredith learned twirling from her mom, a prominent twirling instructor in Dunmore.

“My mom always teaches me to go after whatever I want in life 110 percent at a time. She tells me to go after it full speed.”

Personable and full of life, Kayleigh knows she is living her dream at Penn State. “I love it here,” she said. “I always dreamed of going here. I look around and here I am. I love the atmosphere here. And I still get to play basketball.”

Kayleigh said she likes listening to music in her spare time. She would like to see Ed Sheeran in concert.

And while she continues to do what she loves at her dream college, Kayleigh thinks of her future. “I want to get into a physical therapy school after graduation. It is highly competitive, but I want to become a physical therapist.”

And competition seems to be something Kayleigh Semion thrives on.


Commissioners Honor Dunmore High School Heroes

Dunmore Students Pix

The Lackawanna County Commissioners recognized Alec Yanisko and Joseph DelVecchio, center, for their heroic Good Samaritan discovery of Federal Judge Edwin Kosik’s vehicle along a nature trail in Dunmore.

Judge Kosik had been missing for several days and was the subject of a massive manhunt.  The Dunmore students spotted his car near the Dunmore Reservoir ATV trail and reported it to the authorities who found the Judge alive and well.

Shown from left: Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley, Mr. Yanisko and Mr. DelVecchio, honorees; and Commissioner Laureen A. Cummings.   


Letter to the Editor: Remembering Joseph “Scappy” Mecca


Joseph M. Mecca passed away on March 22 at the Dunmore Health Care Center. He was 70 years old.

Dear Editor,

Mr. Joseph Mecca will be remembered as many things; a teacher, coach, brother, friend, and parishioner. Most Dunmoreans affectionately knew him by his nickname, ‘Scappy.’  Mr. Mecca is from the old school.  He believed that hard work was the key to success and that you could never fail if you gave it your all.  

He lived life the way my parents raised my brothers and me, to treat others the way you want to be treated and show respect even when it is not deserved.  You see, Mr. Mecca did it right.  He did it right in every aspect of his life.  He lived to teach and lived to serve.

Whether in the classroom or on the athletic field, if you watched Scappy go about his business, you couldn’t help emulating his drive and attention to detail.

I remember watching him run down the first base line between every inning; running back to the dugout after the last recorded out.  He was consistent.  He made a point of taking pride in the little things knowing the big things would take care of themselves.

During the best season the Bucks baseball team had while I was in high school, we were playing our rivals and I remember Coach Mecca’s knee was bothering him and it affected the way he ran to the coach’s box down the first baseline.  We could hear the laughs and comments being made by the other team (and fans) as he ran past their dugout, but it didn’t faze Coach Mecca.  

I remember being angry about the disrespect and shallowness of those involved, but then I looked at Scappy and you’d swear they were cheering him on.  You see.  He thrived on it.  The fact that they were teasing him was justification to Coach that he was doing it right.  Running through the pain in his knee was worth it and if his players approached the game with the same attitude, we couldn’t lose.  We couldn’t ask for a better role model and mentor.

In the classroom, Mr. Mecca was a giant.  He taught mathematics with a zest that only the best educators possess.  Anyone who was a student of Mr. Mecca can tell you the story about Quadratic Man.  I bet most of them could probably recite the Quadratic Formula if asked.  

Mr. Mecca brought his teaching to life.  Watching him transform behind his podium was one of the funniest moments of my education, but then watching Mr. Mecca ‘soar’ around the room reciting the quadratic formula was his way of helping us to remember the formula forever; not to mention the pretzels and mustard that accompanied the masked man!

Mr. Mecca always made time for everybody.  He was a staple behind the scorer’s desk doing the clock at basketball games, participating in faculty basketball games and at most school functions.  He lived for all of us and never said no when asked to help.  When I was a sophomore in college, my catcher’s mitt had several laces that broke from use and wear.  I asked Coach to restring it and when I got it back it was better than new.  Twenty three years later the laces are still holding strong.  I true testament to the quality of work Mr. Mecca always did.

Joseph Mecca was a tower of a man.  His presence was always apparent; not because of his stature but because of his persona.  His colleagues respected him, the administrators of DHS appreciated him, and his students rivaled at his knowledge and love for his content.  Mr. Mecca may have passed but the legacy he left will endure through all the lives he touched.  Joseph Mecca was more than a teacher, coach, or colleague. He, like the late Mr. Paul Kelly, will live on through everyone who knew him and the example they set, the knowledge they imparted and the love they had for everything they did in their lives.

Before the Avengers, Dunmore had its own super hero.  He was Quadratic Man.  Rest in peace Mr. Mecca!  You left it better than you found it.   I’m sure you’re sitting with Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio talking baseball and you’re still hustling to your rightful place in the first base coaching box in the sky.

Todd Hartshorn

Art for Artists Gallery Features Work of DHS Graduate


Loren Sykes of Dunmore, a fine arts major at Keystone College, will exhibit works as part of her capstone project at the AFA Gallery on April 7th. (Photo Credit: Lori Ryan Photography)

The Art for Artists (AFA) Gallery of Scranton will be presenting the work of Dunmore High School graduate Loren Sykes and her fellow peers of Keystone College in their senior exhibit Coalescence. This exhibit will be open on Friday, April 7 from 6-9pm and runs through till April 28. The show is free and open to the public.

Ms. Sykes’s body of work consists of four large formatted oil paintings that play on the relationship of light and color. The idea behind the work is derived from light bulbs that Miss Sykes had painted previously. With the help of modern technology, using an application on her IPad, she then deconstructs the simple object and transforms it into a more abstract entity with the use of light and color.

Ms. Sykes and the other artists will be giving presentations on their work on April 8 at the Art for Artists(AFA) Gallery. This is also free and all are welcome.

For further information and gallery hours, call (570)-969-1040 and/or visit 514 Lackawanna Ave Scranton, PA 18503.