The Unsung Heroes: Student-Athletes Make an Impact Off the Field and Court


For many State High athletes, determination and hard practice are the keys to a successful season. For others, their programs’ success is fueled by much, much more. It’s driven by how the players can bond together as teammates for a greater cause and make a difference in their school and in the larger community.

We caught up with two State High athletes—football player Vinnie Albegiani and volleyball player Emily Dry—who are making the most of their student-athlete experiences to make a difference in the lives of others.

Read more: The Unsung Heroes: Student-Athletes Make an Impact Off the Field and Court

Spotlight on Student Organizations

Enriching Students, Enhancing Lives

State High’s Best Buddies Program Challenges Students 

Dedication, friendships, and selflessness. These are just some of the many qualities many people have gained while working in the Best Buddies program. Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a national, non-profit organization that aims to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one on one friendships and integrated employment.

The program doesn’t just serve to benefit the students’ “buddies.” It greatly influences the participating students, too.

“I have learned so much from this club like being kind to everyone and to not judge a person before you really know them,” said State High Best Buddies President, senior Jessica Orndorff. “When I am with the kids and teachers in this club, I see how caring and positive they are all the time. Their attitude and outlook on the world make me want to be more like them!”

Read more: Spotlight on Student Organizations

Behind the Scenes: Executive Director on the Impact Education Foundation Makes on Every Student

State College Area School District Executive Director Paul Olivett believes in the little things that can make a difference in a student’s experiences at a big school like State High. He knows from personal experience, as his two kids went through SCASD and reaped the benefits of the numerous opportunities and activities offered. That’s why he’s been instrumental in launching a Foundation to ensure the ongoing support for the the tools, resources, and opportunities available for all students.

“Part of the mission of the Foundation will be to connect students to the community and the community to the students,” he said. “We want people to know about the incredibly dedicated and engaged student body and how they impact the community in positive ways - beyond what you might read in the sports section.”

Read more: Behind the Scenes: Executive Director on the Impact Education Foundation Makes on Every Student