Random Fun Facts: Seton Hill University

I would wish to fit you for that world in which you are destined to live.  ~Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Educate a woman and you educate generations.  ~Sr. M. De Chantal Leis

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Me, Dr. Catherine Giunta & Mike Fecik at Seton Hill University for the Customer Centricity Panel, Cecilian Hall 11/4/14

This past Tuesday, I was asked to be a part of the Customer Centricity panel at Seton Hill University.  Dr. Catherine Giunta, my adviser when I attended Seton Hill for marketing management, asked me to join the panel, totaling of three alumni.  In fact, I’ve been included as part of the venue every year since its inception in 2011.

Speaking to Dr. Giunta’s MBA and undergraduate business majors is an honor, one I enjoy.  Not because I like to build presentations, which I do, but because it helps me reflect on Thrill of the Hunt and my own business model.  It’s a great exercise to go through to truly reevaluate the direction of the company and it recharges my energies when discussing my start-up and the progress made.  Having students interested in Thrill of the Hunt and inquire about the steps and the processes I took to get to present day, is inspirational.  Plus, public speaking is a talent that needs to be exercised.  This is a perfect way to do so.

Over the years, Thrill of the Hunt has built scavenger hunts for Seton Hill’s homecoming block party Discovering Greensburg in the Rain, Scavenger Hunts – Getting Our Start at Seton Hill University & Continuing and as part of the alumni weekend activities.  Building these scavenger hunts are a lot of fun and educational, not only for those participating in the scavenger hunt, but for me as well.  I try to incorporate history or fun trivia as part of the game, in turn, I usually learn a thing or two.

Since I’ve spoken about Random Fun Facts:  Saint Vincent College and Random Fun Facts:  Latrobe, Pennsylvania, why not my old Alma Mater?  Join me as I outline some of the history that created the tree lined drive, to the top of the hill.  Seton Hill, a place where a whole new world exists, one that is working to make a difference with its students and community.

Random Fun Facts:  Seton Hill University

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My black & white photography, Sullivan Hall at Seton Hill University 2004

History

  • Founded in 1885 as a college (Seton Hill Conservatory of Music & Seton Hill Conservatory of Art)
  • Seton Hill was named in honor of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton,  founder of the Sisters of Charity & the 1st American-born saint

A statue of her is in the lower level of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  On one of my trips to visit my sister, Nicole, mom and myself went to mass there & toured the Catholic Church.

  • August 7, 1882, Mother Aloysia Lowe (Mother Superior of the Pennsylvania Sisters of Charity) purchased the hilltop farmland for the site of a Mother House for the Sisters in the region
  • The farmland was known as the Jennings farm
  • In 1883, Saint Joseph Academy, boarding school for girls was established & operated until 1947
  • In 1914, the Sisters opened the Seton Hill Junior College & in 1918, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved Seton Hill’s charter for a four-year institution of higher learning
  • April 21, 1887, the cornerstone for the new building was laid in place
  • Everyone in attendance of the ground breaking ceremony, each signed their name to a scroll of paper that was placed in the cornerstone of the building (along with a medal, rosary, or relic from each, copies of the newspapers of the day, a number of rare coins, & pictures of Bishops Phelan & Tuigg)
  • 1887 – the Sisters’ Mother House were permanently & officially established at Seton Hill
  • 1887 – 1st year a class graduated from Saint Joseph Academy (The Saint Joseph Academy class of 1887 consisted of Sarah Sullivan, Rose Padden, Anastasia Casey & Alice Akers)
  • 1889 – Saint Mary’s Preparatory School for Boys moved from Blairsville, Pennsylvania to Saint Mary Convent at Seton Hill (since then always referred to as Saint Mary’s Hall)
  • 1908 – Maura Hall (originally called Saint Mary’s Seminary) was completed to serve the boys of Saint Mary’s School
  • Seton Hill was a working farm from time of purchase until the 1960s
  • In 1909 the original barn, located near the bend in the current drive burned to the ground
  • In 1911, The Pennsylvania Railroad built a new road to bridge the gap between Seton Hill’s hilltop buildings to College Avenue at the bottom of the hill  (prior to, it was a long wooden boardwalk)
  • 1914 – The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was built in a wooded alcove below the Administration Building (remains to this day)
  • April 1916 the coal rights to 18 acres of the property were sold.  The proceeds were used to fund the construction of new buildings
  • 1921 – Mother Mary Raymond Creed was inaugurated as 2nd president of Seton Hill
  • 1923 – Saint Joseph Dormitory completed
  • 1924 – Saint Mary’s School for Boys discontinued
  • October 25, 1929 – official opening of Sullivan Hall (called the activities building for nearly 20 years)
  • 1930 – Seton Hill establishes its Honors Program
  • 1931 – Rev. James A. Wallace Reeves inaugurated as 5th president of Seton Hill
  • September 30, 1958 Reeves Library was dedicated (named for Seton Hill’s 5th president)
  • Reeves Library houses Reeves Theatre & Harlan Gallery
  • Fall of 1958 – Havey Hall opened (Havey Hall named after the 1st president of the College, Mother Mary Joseph Havey)
  • Fall of 1965 – Brownlee Hall (named for Sr. Francesca Brownlee, 1st academic dean of the College) opened
  • 1970 – Sr. Mary (Thecla) Schmidt inaugurated as 7th president of Seton Hill
  • 1970 – the Clay Frick Lynch Hall of Science completed (commonly known as Lynch Hall)
  • September 14, 1975 – Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized (founder of the Sisters of Charity)
  • In 1986 – the School of Fine Arts began accepting male students interested in pursuing majors in art, theatre, communication & music
  • 1987 – JoAnne Boyle, Ph.D. (a 1957 graduate of Seton Hill) was inaugurated as 9th president
  • 1987 – National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education as established at Seton Hill (in response to Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Holocaust and to “promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today”)
  •  April 19, 2005 – McKenna Center Opened (The Katherine Mabis McKenna Center)
  • September 2009 – the Performing Arts Center opened (73,000 square foot)
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Saint Joseph Chapel at Seton Hill University. My color photography 2004

Saint Joseph Chapel

  • On November 18, 1896 – Saint Joseph Chapel (“the heart of Seton Hill”) was dedicated
  • Pillars of rose Georgian marble & side altars of Carerra marble
  • 18 stained glass windows (including 2- 16 foot rose windows & a circular angel window in the ceiling above the altar)
  • Hand carved wooden pews
  • Artist Mother Joseph Doran directed the construction of the chapel & designed the stained-glass figures in its south front doors
  • Donations from the families & friends of the Sisters furnished the chapel including gold jewelry, which was melted down & reformed as a halo for the statue of the Virgin Mary
  • Above the main entrance stained glass window depicts the values dear to the  Sisters of Charity: humility, simplicity & charity (actual words are part of the stain glass)
  • Pipe organ was donated by Andrew Carnegie a few years after the chapel’s completion
  • The wing housing Saint Joseph Chapel contains Cecilian Hall (The same hall I spoke in for the Customer Centricity Panel)
  • November 11, 1998 the Tenzin Gyatso (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet) visited Seton Hill Mister Fred Rogers  introduced the Dalai Lama at the 1st public lecture
  • 2011 – The 112-year-old Administration Building re-opened (3-years of renovation)
  • 2002 -Seton Hill College was granted University status by the Pennsylvania Department of Education & became Seton Hill University
  • 2002 – Seton Hill officially became coeducational
  • September 2004 – Farrell Hall (residence hall named for former president Eileen Farrell) opened
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Administration Building at Seton Hill University. Black & white photography 2004

General

  • 35 miles east from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Mascot is the Griffin
  • The legendary medieval character, the griffin has a head, beak & wings of an eagle & the body & tail of a lion As per the myth, griffins are blessed with the speed, flight & penetrating vision of the eagle, & the strength, courage & majesty of the lion.  Symbolically this represents the combination of intelligence & strength
  • School colors are crimson and gold
  • University motto is Hazard yet Forward
  • Originally the campus sat on 200 acres of old farmland, near downtown Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Curriculum

  • In 1914, the Sisters began further their education to prepare to teach college level courses
  • In 1914 the Seton Junior College opened to provide 2-years of college instruction for women
  • 1992 – The National Education Center for Women in Business (re-named E- Magnify in 2006), was established
  • In 2006 – E- Magnify achieved designation as a Women’s Business Center (WBC) by the U.S. Small Business Administration
  • 1995 – Seton Hill College offered first 2 graduate programs (Master of Arts in Elementary Education & a Master of Arts in Art Therapy)
  • 2,000+ students attend the university from across the U.S. & around the world
  • 80 + undergraduate, 8 graduate degree programs offered & an adult degree program & advanced certifications in a variety of disciplines
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I had to lean out a top floor window from the Admin Building at Seton Hill University to get this shot.  Worth it!  What a beautiful view of Greensburg, Pa.  2004

There is so much more to Seton Hill than what is listed above.  The school will always have a soft spot in my heart, not only for my scholastic education, but also my cultural exposure, and the opportunities it gave me to shape my professional career and later my entrepreneur journey.  Seton Hill is like an old friend, one that has been with me through many ups and downs in my life, and has helped me through life in one way or another, while attending and post graduation.  The students, past and present, and facility are very special and are monumental to shaping lives.  I received so much more from Seton Hill than what my diplomas state.  Hazard Yet Forward!

Resoureces
http://www.setonhill.edu/aboutus/history_and_traditions/then_and_now and the Westmoreland Historic Society (books and newspaper clippings)
posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Scavenger Hunts – Getting Our Start at Seton Hill University & Continuing

There was no harm in taking aim, even if the target was a dream.  ~John Knowles

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Aw Else Boutique at the Seton Hill University Block Party in Greensburg, PA. Danielle & her daughters! What a great group of gals! 9/20/14

This past weekend was a busy one.  The highlight?  Administering to the Seton Hill University Scavenger Hunt – Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt, in none other than Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

How did it go?  Very well!  There was a lot of participation and the feedback was VERY positive.  This was my second year at the block party and generally speaking, there was a lot of interest in the scavenger hunt, not only from my prompting, but from some who sought me out knowing they wanted to become a Thrill Seeker!  Not to mention, those who inquired about private scavenger hunts for birthday parties, Halloween events and fundraisers.  Perfect!

Plus, it’s great making new friends and contacts, and rekindling old pals and acquaintances.  As a business owner I know the importance of exposure and word-of-mouth advertising.  Administering to the scavenger hunt gave me all those.  Youngwood Corner Market was one I just met, who I may team up with in the future.  It was also a happy surprise to see Danielle, the owner of Aw Else Boutique, who I’ve known for years.  She is great gal and an inspiration!  Gotta love networking!

On a side note, Danielle is also a Seton Hill Alumna.  As we were talking and catching up on business, friends and family, she refreshed my memory when I tutored her in Adobe Photoshop.  I completely forgot all about that!  Since those good old days on the hill, she has informed me that she is a pro at the software and loves doing her own creative.  Way to go Danielle!  Again, Seton Hill has always influenced me, even being a backdrop to future friendships.

As an entrepreneur of a start-up company, those words and inquiries recharge my battery and reiterates why I started the company in the first place, to get people moving around, excited about discovery and exploring the nooks and crannies of an area, while enjoying a mind teasing game.  Believe it or not, I love being challenged with the development of new scavenger hunts and I really LOVE seeing the participants excited about joining in on the fun and having a good time.

Sadly, my sidekick, Kyle was not able to attend and help me administer to the scavenger hunt.  He also missed last year’s block party too.  I guess my little teenager is a busy man and he’s going to have to pencil me into his schedule.  I want Kyle to grow with the company as it continues to do the same.  With each event, I try to teach him skills and share insights, not only for his potential career in business, but to grow as a person.

You know it’s true what they say, always keep your contacts and never burn bridges.  Over the years I’ve kept in touch with friends and business owners, as with some professors at Seton Hill University.  I’ve never ever had a reason to speak of Seton Hill in any other fashion but pure respect.  They, after all, are my Alma Mater for both of my degrees. (one when it was the college and one the university)  I’ve always held that school in high regards and they’ve reciprocated all the way, even to show encouragement and support for my business.

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Great food at Youngwood Corner Market! Met some new friends to team up with in the future! Seton Hill University Block Party, Greensburg, PA 9/20/14

When I started Thrill of the Hunt in 2012 (that was when we officially developed our very first scavenger hunt – The Piper Corporation was established in 2011) Seton Hill gave us an opportunity to strut our stuff so to speak.  Since then, Thrill of the Hunt has been apart of the Seton Hill Block party Discovering Greensburg in the Rain and the Alumni Weekend Decoding the Past Scavenger Hunt.

Working with Seton Hill University has been a dream of mine and has been a blessing!  I truly hope we can continue our relationship and grow to benefit both parties.

I will always hold a special place in my heart for all those companies, schools and participants who have helped and continue to patron Thrill of the Hunt.  I appreciate it immensely!

Down the road, as the company grows, I hope to work with more schools and universities.  I enjoy the learning environment and interacting with those who are open to a challenging scavenger hunt adventure.

Now time for my marketing promotion of Thrill of the Hunt.  If you’re interested in a unique custom scavenger hunt or just want to discuss the possibilities, email me at Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com, Heather@AuntHeather.com or fill out the form on our Contact Us page for a free quote.  We will get back to you within 24 business hours. I promise!

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Thrill of the Hunt table at the Seton Hill University Block Party. Great participation & interest in the Scavenger Hunt! Greensburg, PA 9/20/14

Please note, Thrill of the Hunt will be hosting our annual Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunts in local cities including Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Annapolis Maryland, Alexandria, Virginia and New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Tickets are on sale now, but are limited.  We are still accepting local businesses to be on the hunt, at no cost.

Speaking of different areas, we are always open to hearing suggestions on scavenger hunt themes and hometowns to bring our events.  I just received a request to bring our dog scavenger hunt to Winchester, Virginia.  I will certainly start looking into the possibility and hopefully by next year we can make it happen.  Please Suggest An Event, either on our website or email Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.  I seriously want to hear from you!

Please make sure you’re following the hunt on our social sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, always using #ThrillofHunt

Remember, everyone needs to … Experience the Game!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,News,Observation & Imagination,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Singles Scavenger Hunt & MELODIME Show

Dare to be strong and courageous. That is the road. Venture anything.  ~Sherwood Anderson

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Thrill of the Hunt’s Singles Scavenger Hunt at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA 9/5/14

Since the days are slipping past me, I thought I’d share this idea before it has become the very past.

Look online and you’ll be flooded with activities in all areas, for all interests for families and adults alike.  Well, here is one for the singles. (21+)

Two weeks ago this Friday, on September 5, 2014, Thrill of the Hunt, a division of The Piper Corporation hosted our first ever singles scavenger hunt!  Espy Scavenger Hunt  Yes!  An option for those singles instead of the same old, which ultimately rests solely on the participants’ ability to strike up a conversation.  Nope!  Not this time.  This scavenger hunt was a non-threatening conversation starter, while having fun playing a game.

Again, to reiterate and for disclosure purposes, Thrill of the Hunt is my start-up company.  We exclusively develop and administer to scavenger hunts.  One might ask, for what?  Short answer, for any business function such as an outing, team building, a company picnic, a sales meeting, a conference or for a trade show to engage customers or potential prospects; for parties such as birthday, retirement, bachelor/bachelorette, bridal or baby shower or family reunion; or as a unique and exciting fundraiser.  Not only does Thrill of the Hunt build these private scavenger hunts but we also host our own public hunts.

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Thrill of the Hunt’s Singles Scavenger Hunt & MELODIME Show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA 9/5/14

The singles scavenger hunt was one of those public activities whereas the participants purchased a ticket in advance.  This particular event was coupled with the MELODIME show afterwards, if desired.  In addition, Thrill of the Hunt issued the adventurous singles a list of items to prepare them for the hunt, and in turn, they addressed such items as they chose.  The scavenger hunt was designed to prompt specific questions to keep the conversations flowing and not have awkward silence and to eliminate anxiety or uncomfortableness, while going through the clues and challenges.  Each participant had the freedom to choose who they spoke to, somewhat.

The outcome?  It was a small event, being the first one of its kind at this venue, which was Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia.  Being an administrator, I can only listen to the feedback and get a sense of the participants’ attitude and body language.  I was told it was a fun event, even though it would have been better with a larger group.  I couldn’t agree more, perhaps in the future.  Everyone did enjoy themselves and the conversations where certainly none stop.

On a side note, this is one of those rare occasions Kyle wasn’t able to assist me.  His thirteen years was not permitted in the facility that served alcohol.  Plus, with an event like this, he is definitely too immature to really understand, at least at this point in his life.  Plus, I can never gauge the quality of the participants.  At this event, they were all very pleasant nice people, but I’m sure I’ll have a few challenges as I continue offering the singles scavenger hunt.  I certainly hope not, and I haven’t thus far with any of my events, but it’s always a real possibility.  I don’t want Kyle exposed to potential problems, so he will remain on the sideline for now, at least with respect to the singles events.

I truly do love building scavenger hunts and administering to them!  Hence why I started this company.  Good thing!

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Thrill of the Hunt hosted the Singles Scavenger Hunt & MELODIME Show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA 9/5/14

Recently, I spoke to a gal on the phone regarding a bachelorette party she is having in Louisiana.  She thought we didn’t service that area.  We do!  These are exciting times and Thrill of the Hunt is expanding our reach to cover most cities.

We are also teaming up with different colleges and universities for a variety of activities, as well as different groups of all interests.  Recently, a few MeetUp groups reached out to me about scavenger hunt events and other themes.  Great idea!  In fact, Thrill of the Hunt will be hosting our annual Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunts in local cities including Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Annapolis Maryland, Alexandria, Virginia and New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Tickets are on sale now, but are limited.  We were also commissioned by Seton Hill University as an activity for their block party homecoming.  Join us in Greensburg, Pennsylvania tomorrow.  Told you a lot going on!

Speaking of different areas, we are always open to hearing suggestions on scavenger hunt themes and hometowns to bring our events.  Please Suggest An Event, either on our website or email Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.  I seriously want to hear from you!

Now time for my marketing promotion of Thrill of the Hunt, as if I haven’t already.  If you are interested in a unique custom scavenger hunt or just want to discuss the possibilities, email me at Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com or fill out the form on our Contact Us page for a free quote.  We will get back to you within 24 business hours. I promise!

Please make sure you’re following the hunt on our social sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, always using #ThrillofHunt

Remember, everyone needs to … Experience the Game!  (I thought of that all on my own)

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

My Senior Art Exhibit at Seton Hill University – ARTsylum

To me the purpose of art is to produce something alive…but with a separate, and of course one hopes, with an everlasting life of its own.  ~Henry Green

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My ARTsylum poster from our Senior Show at Seton Hill University in Harlan Gallery – Design by Josh Simon & Mike Sloskey 4/2005

With all the graduation parties and celebrations going on, it brings back a memory of my own.  How many graduations have I had?  Well, there was my sixth grade graduation, which wasn’t a graduation as per say but Sacred Heart did have a ceremony for us acknowledging our next milestone.  Then, there was my high school graduation from Greater Latrobe High School.  Yep, I wore my cap and gown as I walked across the stage to collect my high school diploma.

On a side note, I was really sick and didn’t even want to go.  I actually had walking phenomena and had a hard time breathing.  I was just plain miserable, although collecting that diploma was a very good feeling!

Then, there was the first time I graduated from Seton Hill University, at the time it was still the college.  That’s when I received my Bachelors of Arts in Marketing Management.  Only a few short years later, I received another degree, this time a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, again from Seton Hill University.

I guess this story is about the later, my second degree.  Going through the business program and then the art program, I quickly realized how completely different they were.  Besides the obvious of the different personalities of the students and the teachers, but the atmosphere, the assignments, the approach to assignments, the stress, all totally different.  I didn’t enjoy one degree over the other, for they were of equal importance to me.  Now looking back on it, exactly equal importance, I use them both in tandem on a daily basis.

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The ARTsylum crew .. Mike Sloskey, Albert Nimley, Heather Piper, Josh Simon, our senior show, closing reception in Harlan Gallery at Seton Hill University 4/24/05

Kyle may not have remembered, but he was there at my senior show.  Granted, he was a little munchkin, but as with all important moments in my life, Kyle was there.

Graduating from the art program, we were required to have a senior show.  It was a big deal!  Not only to the students who were displaying there very best work, but to those students and facility who perused the gallery shows upon the conclusion of every year.  Not to mention friends and family of said students.   Yes, it truly was very exciting, especially since that was my first and last art exhibit, ever.

Please note, all my references to the senior art show was from way back in my day.  I’m sure the requirements have changed since my days at Seton Hill.

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One of my favorite black & white photography pieces I’ve ever done … Kyle’s knee (literally there was no injury, just a band-aid -2003) It was hung in Harlan Gallery at Seton Hill during my senior show – ARTsylum 4/2005

We were allowed to request a solo show, whereas the student had the entire gallery as well as the back room to display their work.  This was usually reserved for those who majored in painting or drawing and over the years compiled enough artwork for an entire gallery.  Some students had the option for a partial solo show, whereas they were given the back section of the gallery to themselves.  I believe with both requests, they had to be submitted in advance to be reviewed by the facility, either approved or disapproved.

The most popular senior show consisted of three or four seniors, usually of like disciplines, combining forces to create one big gallery show.  That’s the option I chose.  I was very blessed with my group, for I had three great guys join forces with me: Mike Sloskey, a graphic design major; Josh Simon another graphic design major; and Albert Nimley a studio arts major (or something along those lines).  All wonderful and very talented gentlemen!

How did I get so lucky?  We were standing in the gallery during class with our professor Carol Brode, she simply asked for us to pick our senior show group.  I was standing in close proximity to Mike and Josh, who I had many a classes with, being graphic designers.  Somehow Albert, who I believe was friends with the guys, joined forces with us.  The rest was sheer awesomeness.

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I’m saving the cake that Mike’s parents got us for our closing reception of ARTsylum, our senior show at Seton Hill University. Kyle was ready to dive right in! 4/24/05

When you decide to partake in a show with someone, you not only need great art pieces for the presentation, but you really need good communication skills; the ability to compromise and work with different personalities; a shared vision of the show; and a respect for one another.  It’s not just hanging pictures on the wall, there’s so much more to it.

First, as an individual, you have to pick out your best artwork from the course of four years.  Usually, these pieces were completed within recent times.  The artwork could be one or a mixture of paintings, drawings, ceramics, video, photography, 3-D pieces and websites, etc.  Some students would create pieces or perform a  theatrical display specific for their show.  The professors at Seton Hill were wonderful about assisting in this process, giving suggestions and guidance the entire way.

Even before combining forces with your fellow show exhibitioners, the group collectively needed to agree upon a theme or a title for the show.  Ours?  ARTsylum.  Yes, our theme was CRAZY.   We felt we had such an eclectic assortment of pieces and talents it was like a mad house, or because we loved art so much.  I can’t remember the reasoning, but together we loved the idea, which I think was Josh’s.  Going above and beyond to carry the theme down to the tiny details, we even called around different hospitals looking for a real straight jacket!  Our plan was to be photographed wearing the jacket for our marketing materials, posters and such.

Did I really call the hospitals and ask to borrow a straight jacket?  You bet I did!  Alas, I was told that I was insensitive to those suffering with mental illness.  Needless to say, we were denied!  Clearly they didn’t see our vision, for we were not making fun of others, but celebrating our own group and our passion for art.

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ARTsylum Cake for closing reception .. courtesy of Mike Sloskey’s parents! 4/24/05

Which brings me to my next item, the pre-show set up.  You just can’t walk into the gallery and decide to start setting up.  Nope!  We had to pick our dates (shows lasted for a week) and our reception, either opening or closing.  We chose a closing reception.

There are many, many requirements involved in a show.  We had to construct a press release (which I can’t find) and actually have it sent to the local papers alerting the interested public.  I wrote ours with the help of the guys, and yes it was published, however I don’t believe I ever kept the newspaper clipping.  We also had to create posters and flyers advertising the event.  All four of us plastered Seton Hill with our ARTsylum faces!  I believe it was a mixture of Josh and Mike who designed the posters and flyers.  I know Josh was the one who photoshoped us in our straight jackets.  Yes we found a solution to our vision!  Photoshop!

Keeping with the theme, we each made our own postcards, naturally with us in our straightjackets.  These were to be sent to anyone we wanted to personally invite.  It was exciting talking to friends and family upon receiving the invites.  It started to make it real.

Now the even harder part, hauling all the art into the gallery and organizing it into some sort of show, with everyone represented equally.  There are many, many ways to do this, we chose to categorize by medium i.e. paintings, clay, photography, graphics etc.  With each category, at least three of us were represented, except ceramics.  I was the only one who had clay pieces and books.  They were placed on pedestals in the middle of the gallery.  On the same token, I was the only one who wasn’t represented in the paintings section.  I had nothing that I cared to display, clay was more my passion.

We started on a Saturday night to get a jump start, deciding to work all day Sunday for our opening on Monday.  Quickly we agreed how things were going to be set up and we started to organize the sections, allowing enough room to house all the pieces.  Believe it or not, that was really tricky, deciding what was to be seen first as someone walks in, and making the space in some sort of logical fashion, within each section.  We did get creative by hanging things from the ceiling since we had so many pieces.  It also helped to pull the eye around the room and fill in the space.

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The ARTsylum invites … You’d by Crazy to miss it! Josh Simon, Mike Sloskey, Heather Piper, Albert Nimely. Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University. 4/2005

Seton Hill was very open and encouraging toward the artists with respect to what was permitted in the gallery.  If we wanted to paint the walls fuchsia for our theme, we could have.  The only requirement was the gallery had to be returned to its original state for the next group upon tearing down.

During the process, I decided to make a video documentary with the four of us.  My logic?  It certainly wasn’t to give myself more work with my already full schedule, but simply to create a single piece representing each individual that was collectively ours.  Anyway, that was the idea behind the documentary.  Throughout our senior show, I tried to capture all aspects including the final show.  To give it some personality, I had each of us read our artist statements, which was another class requirement.  The guys were encouraged to help me by picking up the video camera and shooting at anything and joining in on the screen.  Albert made the music track for the background.  Sister Mary Kay was wonderful at helping me export the video.

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Opening day of the ARTsylum exhibit at Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University. In front, Mike Sloskey, Josh Simon, me, & Albert Nimely 4/18/05

After putting in a long night on Saturday, it was agreed upon by all parties to call it a wrap and come back fresh in the morning to finish setting up.

To deviate slightly, that night I received a call as I was leaving, that Kyle was in the Latrobe emergency room.  He was really sick and even later into the night, he was life flighted to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.  I’ll tell that tale later, for it was purely exhausting, mostly mentally.

I did finally get back to the gallery sometime late Sunday night, after Kyle was taken out of ICU.  My group was wonderful, they took it upon themselves to continue setting up as they saw fit.  They did a great job!  Unfortunately, at the time my cell phone was dead so I had no communication with them and they had no idea what happened to me, for it was totally out of my character to be late, and really late at that, and not to communicate my absence.  Yes, all night long I was sitting with a little boy of three years old in the ICU.  Not getting a wink of sleep, I went straight to the gallery after returning from Pittsburgh to join ARTsylum crew.  Naturally, I owed them all a big explanation and an apology.  They were very understanding!

During the final hours, it was a race to the finish, even getting into the gallery early Monday morning for the final touches.  Everyone was responsible for printing labels for each piece of artwork, having the pieces matted and or framed or mounted, that sort of thing.  Believe it or not, that’s an undertaking in itself, naming the art piece, outlining the medium and any other information desired for the public to read, plus having the piece prepped and ready for display.

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me, Josh Simon & Mike Sloskey – opening of ARTsylum at Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University. 4/18/05

Now some details about the show.  We used mismatched large and small nails to hang the photography pieces, which were placed at odd angles and bent haphazardly, keeping with the asylum theme.  I purchased large white sheets and hung them in the windows looking into the gallery, giving it a feeling of confinement.  We also ripped up a sheet and tied the strips into one long strand with huge knots.  It was to represent the stereotypical someone trying to escape a hospital.  It started at our easel, which displayed the ARTsylum poster promoting the show, and ran all the way outside down the sidewalk, to greet anyone entering the gallery and lead them in.  I took the same fabric and created a cover to our sign-in book.  That same torn fabric was also used to hang items from the ceiling and to set the stage with the mannequins.  I was very impressed with the details we added to the show!

We did it!  The doors opened to a line of friends, family and facility excited to see what we put together and what each artist created over the years at Seton Hill, and naturally how it was displayed.  I enjoyed every stressful and fun moment, especially with my group!  They truly made it something special and not a burden.  It was well worth it, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to go through that again.

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Josh Simon & Mike Sloskey relaxing after setting up the ARTsylum senior show in Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University 4/18/05

We did have a closing reception as I mentioned before.  Mike’s parents bought us a cake complete with images of us in our straight jackets, keeping the theme going!  Seton Hill supplied some of the appetizers.  My entire family came that Sunday to see what I’ve been working on.  My sister even flew in for the occasion.  Even my little man, who was fresh out of the hospital and on the road to recovery, made his brief appearance.  I couldn’t have had my gallery show without him there.  After all, he was my muse for all my black and white photography!

Unfortunately, I don’t do art anymore and I’m kind of out of the art loop.  Yes, I do graphics, but that’s more commercial.  Maybe one day I’ll get back into throwing clay.  Until then, I have taken up another creative outlet, writing!  Not only do I keep up with my blog, but I’ve also written a book and started the second.  Perhaps I will get it published one day.

Please view my documentary piece, included are some bloopers as well as the beginning of the art show and the final exhibit.  I wish I had the raw files to re-edit it, for I could do a much better job, but it served its purpose of documenting us.  What a great time!  Enjoy!

You may need to copy and past the link since Youtube is not pulling the correct video. Frustrating!      youtu.be/UMXcKgJuh8s

 

 

 

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.  ~Richard P. Feynman

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Statue of Saint Boniface Wimmer in front of Saint Vincent Church at Saint Vincent College. I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in this church… Ryan was the alter boy.

Since I recently wrote about Random Fun Facts:  Latrobe, Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t be complete without addressing Saint Vincent College.

This past June, for Kyle’s birthday gift I got him, Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe!  Actually I got him two different Bricks 4 Kidz sessions, Animal Grossology for the morning session and Space Adventure – Star Wars for the afternoon session.  The Lego camp lasted a week, from Monday June 24 through Friday, June 28.  Kyle’s birthday is in July, so he was really surprised.

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Saint Boniface Wimmer, Saint Vincent College

The first day of Lego Camp, on Monday, I thought it would be neat to hang out with Kyle for lunch.  So I packed us a picnic and we ate on the college grounds.  It was a warm day but really pleasant under the trees.  Afterwords, I thought he might find a tour of the campus interesting.  In my head, I remembered how cool it was when Father Alred gave our sixth grade class a tour of the college when attending Sacred Heart.  He talked about the history, the architecture, the stain glass windows, and so on and so forth.

Well, as it turns out, I remembered the feeling more than the facts.  I must say, I fell short and needed a refresher.  Kyle wasn’t amused at all!  It was at that moment when I thought, I need to revisit Saint Vincent College, in the books.

Ironically, when I was doing research for the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University Discovering Greensburg in the Rain  (the sister college of Saint Vincent), at the Westmoreland County Historical Society, I came across a lot of intriguing content on  Saint Vincent College.  I hope you find the history of the college as interesting and almost mind blowing as I do!  Please read to the very end!  I promise it will shock you!

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Sportman’s Hall, built in 1790 by Father Theodore Brouwers- later become Saint Vincent

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

  • Founded in 1846 – Saint Vincent Arch-abbey and College
  • In 1766, before the monks John Fraser, an Indian trader, acquired land on part of which Saint Vincent is now situated
  • February 10, 1766 granted a tract of land along the Forbes Road to John- made in the name of the King George II of Great Britain by Captain William Murray, Commander of Port Pitt.
  • December 3, 1768 John Fraser transferred teh entire parcel of land to James Hunter, a farmer for Five Pounds Lawful Money
  • James Hunter owned the land for 21 years
  • March 12, 1790, the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Joseph Hunter “a certain tract of land called ‘Sportsman’s Hall'” – 1st time the name of Sportman’s Hall was given to individual tract of land (name retained for over half a century)
  • Sportman’s Hall was called “the Cradle of Catholicity in western Pennsylvania”
  • April 16, 1790 Joseph transferred the deed to Rev. Theodore Brouwers, O.F.M.
  • Father Brouwers died on October 29, 1790.  As per his will his body was laid to rest in a plot overlooking Sportsman’s Hall.  Since 1869 his remains have reposed under a a stone cross in Saint Vincent Cemetery
  • Father Brouwers provided his successor by bequeathing all of his real estate “to a Roman Catholic priest that shall succeed me in this same place, to be entailed to him and to his successors, forever.”
  • In 1787, 6 Catholic families moved from Philadelphia and settle near Greensburg
  • A small log church was erected
  • Sportsman’s Hall stood northeast to the present Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica until 1883 – in 1930s a marker was erected on this site
  • Reverand Michael Galllagher succeeded Father Stillinger as pastor, serving until October 21, 1846 – then Rev. Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. was pointed as pastor
  • Boniface Wimmer was a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria

Hence the name Wimmerton for the neighboring housing development

  • Boniface Wimmer received the monastic name of Boniface upon his entry into the monastery, a name with deep significance for German Catholics
  • Saint Boniface was an English monk who in the 18th century brought the Gospel and the Benedictine Rule to the Rhineland, where he established  monasteries and served as bishop of Fulda

He wanted to provide education for the sons of German immigrants and train clergy for the German community in the United States.

  • Saint Vincent is the 1st Benedictine college in the United States
  • Saint Vincent sits on roughly 200 acres of land
  • First buildings were built by the monks
  • The Benedictine Rule is known for spirituality and practicality
  • By 1855, Saint Vincent was divided into the Seminary, the Classical Department, and the Commercial Department – basic structure of college for next 50 years
  • In 1870, the college was incorporated by the State Legislature of Pennsylvania and given the power to grant degrees in the arts and sciences
  • February 25, 1931 Benedictine Sisters left Germany to go to America, set up residence in Saint Vincent, to earn money to send back to mother house during World War I
  • By 1987, one sister retired and founded Saint Emma’s Retreat House in Greensburg
  • In 1948, there were 19 majors available in the divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Business
  • January of 1963 – a fire destroyed part of the campus – no life was lost

On the campus they have a memorial with a rescued bell saved from the bell tower.  The bent and torn metal of the once perfect bell is so surreal yet intriguing.

  • In 1983, Saint Vincent became co-educational

Until that point it was an all male college, sister college to Seton Hill University, which used to be an all female college

  • The college is sponsored by the Benedictine Monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey and shares the campus with Saint Vincent Seminary (4-year graduate school of theology), and Saint Vincent Parish
  • Saint Vincent College offers undergraduate degrees in business, education, medicine, engineering government service and church.
  • Saint Vincent College offers Masters degree programs in education and business
  • The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (yes THE  Mr. Rogers!) is a college center
  • Nationally known, students from 24 U.S. states/territories and 20 foreign countries – half of these students are in the top 20% of their high school graduating classes
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and School
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Bell Tower at Saint Vincent, built in 1871 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Benedictines in the U.S. In 1963, destroyed in a fire

Ok, now for the the really fun and interesting information I stumbled across.  Evidently, the students at Saint Vincent College need or did need to write a senior thesis before graduation.  Using primary resources, they were permitted to write about anything.

One student narrowed his focus to Latrobe and decided to write about the history of Latrobe’s volunteer firer-fighters and the Latrobe fire company.  Nice little topic!

Unbeknownst to him, he was going to stumble upon some really ground breaking news that was overlooked, even by Saint Vincent scholars, even to present day!  When I had lunch with my cousins John and Sherry Business Leader in the Form of a Youngster, in September, I asked John if he ever heard of the news I will reveal to you below.  He didn’t.  Dr. Olczak who also translated books for Saint Vincent College and most certainly was knowledgeable in the history of his Alma Mater, had no idea!

In the 1870’s, the Latrobe Advance, the local paper which is now the Latrobe Bulletin, circulated a story which dealt with a recent incident at Saint Vincent College.  What made the news but never made any other history books regarding the college and was forgotten?

Boniface Wimmer, yes the founder of Saint Vincent monastery and college, made the paper in the form of a small hidden story.  On October 1, 1879, the newspaper reported that the then 70 year old Abbot was nearly assassinated by a “lunatic”.  YEP!  No joke!  Keep in mind at this point in history, Boniface Wimmer was no stranger to the world, especially when concerned with his dedication and progress towards education and as a missionary.  In fact, he was recognized by many as the American Roman Catholic Church leader.  Kind of a big deal!  The paper reported that the mad man tried to assassinate Boniface Wimmer in his monastery room.

The story goes, a stranger was found lurking around, outside the monastery for several days.  On Saturday, September 13, 1879 the stranger gained access to the monastery where Boniface Wimmer resided.  A monk cut him off at the pass and ejected him from the premisses.  A week later the creepy stranger, on Tuesday September 23rd made his way back in the monastery and proceeded towards Brother Nicholas room.  He was the Porter or the gatekeeper of Wimmer.  This crazed stranger struck Brother Nicholas on the head and bolted up the stairs to the Abbot Boniface’s room.  (currently located in Mauer Hall and is used as a guest room) The lunatic took the key and tried to lock himself inside along with Boniface Wimmer.

Quick witted and matching reflexes, even from an aged man, the Abbot noticed this unusual sight and took the would-be assassin off guard before he could lock the door.  There was a tussle between the two men and that’s when Boniface Wimmer received a blow to the head, but not before gaining a hold of the intruders arm and managing to gain the upper hand. The 70 year old Abbot took down his attacker!  Yes!  He wrestled him to the floor!  This just proves, you have nothing to fear with God on your side and when you have complete faith in Him.

The recovering Porter came to Boniface’s assistance, after gaining his wits about him, and eventually a couple of monks arrived at the scene, hearing yells for help.  They removed the determined stranger from the premises.  No charges, no cops, no finger pointing, nothing.  Now-a-days that would have made front line news and opposing sides would be talking about it and pointing fingers at everyone including the Abbot for days, or weeks, heck months.  Everyone would have someone to blame.

The reason for this situation?  Not an Anti-Catholic message nor a hatred against Saint Vincent nor its Abbot.  The intruder was a Latrobe native who had mental issues and recently escaped from an asylum.  He felt if he killed the Abbot Wimmer he would in turn take his place as the Abbot of Saint Vincent.   At least the mentally disturbed man had goals!

Since this was not recorded anywhere else or brought to the spotlight, how can we know this actually happened? Even though back then the reporters needed to check and verify their sources, so I would be pretty confident they did their due-diligence before including the story in the paper.  Well, I came across documentation of a letter Abbot Wimmer wrote to the Vatican giving them an update on the church and the college.  This was a standard letter, with pleasantries and general day-to-day stuff.  At the conclusion of his letter, yes not as a headline, the butt end, as if just mentioning it in passing or as an afterthought, Abbot Wimmer made note of this incident.  Why didn’t he make it out to be the big deal it was?  Simply, because he was a humble man and didn’t want to upset anyone or have the general population turning on the assailant.   At least that’s my guess.  Or perhaps he didn’t like the negative publicity.  Either way, it was real history.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Discovering Greensburg In the Rain

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.  ~John Ruskin
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Elliott, MaRissa & Chris participating in the Thrill of the Hunt, Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for the Seton Hill University Homecoming weekend. Great job! 9/21/13

This past Saturday Thrill of the Hunt was commissioned by Seton Hill University to develop and administer a custom scavenger hunt for their homecoming weekend.  It was called Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt.  This was exiting for me for many reasons.  The most obvious reason, it was a paid job.  Being a start-up company every business and every opportunity is a blessing and is needed for survival, let alone taking Thrill of the Hunt to the next level.

Also, building this scavenger hunt gave me additional experience.  The more scavenger hunts I can outline and manage, the better I become at developing them and getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t.  I already have ideas on how to push my limits to offer even more interactive and exciting hunts.  Want to know one?  I would like to build a ‘Singing in the Rain’ type of scavenger hunt.  But I guess that ones for down the road.

Not only did building the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt build my portfolio of events, but administering the game gave Thrill of the Hunt great exposure.  Again, every point of contact, every lead, every bit of feedback a start-up company can receive, will only help in the growth.  Seton Hill was gracious enough to allow me to share the Seton Hill Alumni booth to pass out brochures and business cards, speaking to curious onlookers and of course checking-in and giving direction to registered participants.

Discovering-Greensburg-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Greensburg-Pa-9-21-13-v1 Aunt Heather Piper

Thrill of the Hunt shared the Seton Hill University Alumni tent for the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt in Greensburg, Pa. 9/21/13

When it comes down to it, I guess the true focus of my excitement was working with Seton Hill University!  My two time Alma Mater.  Yes, I graduated with two different degrees at two different times.  Proudly, I use both degrees, Bachelor’s in Arts (Marketing) and Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (Graphic Design) daily.  To this day, I can honestly say I received a great education and I value my contacts at the school.  Seton Hill is very encouraging, to not only their alumni, but also to local entrepreneurs.  So having the opportunity to work with the school was on my ‘want’  list of businesses, and I got them!  A goal accomplished!

With every scavenger hunt I build, the more I enjoy what I’m doing and the more unique Thrill of the Hunt becomes.  This particular scavenger hunt allowed me to camp out at the Westmoreland County Historical Society for a couple of days, digging through books, old newspaper articles and such.  I find that research is a lot of fun and intriguing.  A great way to spend my time!  Keeping with the theme, I wanted to make sure my facts were correct and I wanted to bring possibly unknown information to the participants, educating them a bit while having fun.  My scavenger hunts typically bring something new to light or introduce some small corner of the area.  This one was no exception.

Discovering-Greensburg-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Greensburg-Pa-9-21-13-v9 Aunt Heather Piper

MaRissa & Chris submitting their online challenges for the Thrill of the Hunt Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt at the Seton Hill University Homecoming weekend 9/21/13

Seton Hill’s Homecoming and family weekend had a lot going on, in addition to the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt.  It was also graced with rain.  At first the rain was light and doable, but then it became stronger and heavier.  Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t shy away from falling water, but when it’s a cold windy rain, not really my cup of tea.

Believe it or not, I had last minute participants sign up to partake in the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt.  Great!  A few brave souls.  That is until the rain intensified and the wind joined in.  I was safe with my fellow Seton Hill Alumni until that point.  Then, it became a scramble to cover all brochures and such.  We were also very luck to have the SHU wrestling team beside us, especially to hold down our now airborne tent.  Really?  Yes!  It was almost comical.

Eventually, they took down the tent.  Where do I go?  And guess what?  I still had participants braving the rain and going through the scavenger hunt.  Wow!  Most people quit when the sky opened up, but I will give a special kudos to MaRissa Boros, Chris Herrera and Elliott Moore who maintained their online communication with me and finished the scavenger hunt, soaked through and through.  Yet happy!  Once I got to shelter, I continued following and reaching out to my brave souls, until they finished all the physical and online challenges.  Great job guys!

Discovering-Greensburg-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Greensburg-Pa-9-21-13-v2 Aunt Heather Piper

Seton Hill University Alumni & Thrill of the Hunt tent at Homecoming weekend. Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt, Greensburg Pa. 9/21/13

Usually I have my sidekick with me.  But alas not this time.  Kyle had other plans and to be honest, it worked out pretty good.  It was not a lot of work to manage the registrants and most of my efforts had to be focused toward the online activity, which Kyle can’t do, at least not yet.  I wouldn’t have wanted him to get drenched like I did either.  Perfect timing!  Now next weekend, when we have the Exploring Inspiration Scavenger Hunt for the Race Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, I will need all hands on deck.  No fear of rain interrupting that one.

It’s funny, just a week prior I was just commenting on how blessed I’ve been, having great weather with each and every one of my scavenger hunts.  I knew that would not always be the case, but it was certainly encouraging.  Almost as if God was saying, ‘You’re on the right track and I will take care of you’.  Was it a bummer for the rain?  Sure, not just for me, but for the rest of the activities planned.  Even though, it was a nice time and I can’t wait for next year.  I truly hope Thrill of the Hunt will be invited to join in on the Seton Hill University Homecoming festivities.

I know as I grow I won’t be able to administer to all Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts, and it won’t be possible to write about each and everyone one of them, but while we’re small, I want to remember my roots and how I got started and those who helped me along the way.  Thank you Seton Hill University!

Discovering-Greensburg-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Greensburg-Pa-9-21-13-v12 Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Music Reinforces Our Tight Bond

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.  ~Ludwig van Beethoven

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Kyle at his 1st piano recital, at his 1st grand piano. 5/17/09

Last night I took Kyle to his piano lessons.  I must admit, I truly love getting my little man, eating dinner together, and just plain hanging out.  He is back in the swing of school and back to a standard routine.  As with most special memories, this one was unplanned and came as a surprise.

My phone died early in the day.  Why didn’t I charge it you may ask?  Well, simply because I had no idea what I did with the plug.  I have a stock pile of cords from my last iPhone, which also charges my iPad and Kyle’s iPod Touch, but alas I only have the one plug for the iPhone 5.  I’ve been meaning to get another one, but like many people, I put it off until there’s an issue.  Guess what?  Issue!  I needed my phone to call on Greensburg businesses to get the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt ready and finalized for Seton Hill University.  Crap.

Anyway, I had to leave to pick up Kyle.  Naturally, once in my car, he reached for my phone to probably play a game and it was dead.  He looked at me in shock.  I know!  We both felt really off our game.  Almost as if we were being detoxed from an addiction.  Now that I’m thinking back on it, that’s a shame we are like that with our phones.  But we are a product of our surroundings.  Did we survive without it?  Most certainly!  Did it help that Kyle had his phone?  Yes!  Only so my parents and my sister could touch base with him, no dire emergency.

Why is this relevant?  I’m so used to getting my emails via my phone, as well as text messages and Facebook messages, it didn’t dawn on me that Kyle’s music teacher would be reaching out to me through my online communications.  Yep, he had to cancel Kyle’s piano lesson.  Well, as I found out the next day, after recovering my long lost phone cord (1 day) and juiced up the handheld addiction, his teacher did indeed cancel his lessons.  Actually, using common sense, it didn’t take a phone to tell me Kyle’s piano teacher wasn’t there.

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Kyle’s music recital group. 5/17/09

While sitting in the waiting room, and as the minutes passed, Kyle became impatient and wouldn’t let me read, (he forgot his book The Lord or the Rings: Return of the King).  At that point, we both decided to get up and look around for his teacher.  His teacher, David is a Seton Hill student and who is always on time and very responsible.  Just out of curiosity, Kyle and I walked down to his piano practice room to check out the situation.  Nope no David but there was THE PIANO!

Not being able to resist a beautiful baby grand piano, I walked in, sat down and started striking the keys.  I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano but my parents didn’t have the money when I was younger and it never was a priority for me as I got older.  Maybe one day I will take the time and learn.  But for now, it’s all on Kyle.

Kyle knowing that I had no idea what notes I was hitting, and no clue how to combine them to form a single song, he sat beside me on the piano bench and started to play a few memorized tunes.  Show off!  But I loved it.

Without saying anything and almost as if by muscle memory, Kyle opened his piano book and started to play a song,  It was one he previously covered in a past lesson, totally new to me.  Kyle started to actually instruct me, showing me were to place my fingers and how to play.

It was AWESOME!  He played a few notes and I watched his little chubby fingers to mimic his actions, messing up every other time.  He was very patient and showed me the fingering a few times so I could follow along.  He even went as far as to instruct me how to play with both hands, and I did!  Now there was certainly no mistaking me for Mozart or Beethoven, but I was playing an actual song, all because of Kyle!

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Close up of Kyle at his 1st piano recital. 5/17/09

Kyle sat further down on the keys to my right and played along side me.  He was too cute, even waiting for me as I slowly hit the notes.  We both enjoyed sharing in on the same song, side-by-side, in our space, just the two of us. (As I wrote that, the song, Just the Two of Us popped in my head! I crack myself up!)  We played together for at least twenty minutes or so.  Yes the same song!  I think Kyle was really enjoying playing with me, as I know I was most certainly having a great time.

Then, out of nowhere, Kyle turned to another one of his piano books and started to teach me about notes, and counts.  He was actually instructing me!  I loved it.  Sitting there attentively and taking in all his knowledge, I started to grasp the music theory.  As he reviewed the notes, it came back to me how to read music, not that I was ever very good at it but I got by.

Once Kyle started to get bored with the situation he busted out one of his standard songs, which happens to be his pappy’s favorite Ode to Joy (German: Ode an die Freude) by Ludwig van Beethoven, always a favorite of mine too and always beautifully played by Kyle.

We sat and played, mostly in silence until it was half past the hour.  Then we decided we were done for the day and headed home.  As we left I told Kyle how much I always wanted to play the piano and I asked him if he would teach me.  He smiled this grin that was almost ornery mixed with excitement and nodded his head in agreement.  Cool!

Our family is not the most musical.  My mom played the piano in her younger days and my sister played the flute for a few years.  I did learn to play the scales on the saxophone, but none of us is fluent in music.  Kyle is the closest we have and he is pretty good.  No prodigy, but I’m happy with his musical abilities and his love and appreciation for the musical arts.

We had a great night!  Before our musical performance we watched Parental Guidance, which I rented and was never able to watch.  Kyle really wanted to see it and we had just enough time to squeeze it in before his lessons, since he didn’t have homework.  It was a funny movie that we both got a kick out of.

I will admit, I enjoyed my music lesson so much more than sitting there watching a movie with Kyle.  I literally could have have stayed in that practice room all night and played and listened to the beautiful music leaving Kyle’s fingers.  Can’t wait for my first lesson!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt & a Puppy In a Day

Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.  ~Hermann Hesse

WannaBe-80s-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event in Shadyside. Great time! 8/17/13

This past Saturday proved to hold an exciting day!  My sister was on her way home with a new bundle of puppy.  The very same day, my company, Thrill of the Hunt, was holding another scavenger hunt event in Shadyside, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, called the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt.  Not to mention a big day wouldn’t be complete without a little attitude and whining from Kyle.

Let’s start in the early afternoon with the arrival of Avery Piper.  This 20 pound cute playful puppy really turned the house inside out.  Scooby, being a grumpy old man was not too pleased to have the rambunctious visitor.  He was growling and nipping and just plain being a bully.  Pretty much everything we expected out of Scooby.  Seven on the other hand was curious and almost excited to have a new friend.  Maybe he remembered how hard it was to be the new doggie on the block.  Seven had to deal with Scooby solo and maybe Seven just wanted to be a mentor, a friend to Avery.

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Nicole hanging with Avery! Don’t let her cute looks fool you! She’s a stinker! 8/17/13

Then let’s discuss, Storm, my cat.  She is a year old and is not very friendly with other people, strange places and certainly not puppies.  She was clearly the one who was the most upset.  She sat up in her perch (This is a tree house type of structure I built for her.  It stands about six feet tall and is equipped with multilevel sitting areas and carpeting.  It’s a place for her to escape the dogs.) and puffed up till she resembled a soft fluffy ball of cat.  She was hissing, and growling, and spitting and swatting her razor sharp claws (I can attest to that!) at the completely ignorant puppy.  Did I mention, as far as we know, Avery has never seen a cat before?  So this was a real treat for her.  Her Avery, not her Storm.

Avery, a.k.a. Acorn (yes I already gave her another name to instigate my sister!) was just so happy to be hanging with all of us and truly didn’t understand the disdain of Storm and Scooby.  She was jumping on the furniture and wanting to play like it was a big party.  Even though I did soak up the playful energy projected from this short haired, pig tailed eared, clumsy, teething youngster, I was still concerned for the stress levels of my Storm.

WannaBe-80-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -5 Aunt Heather Piper

My perfect little Thrill of the Hunt assistant! He is a great businessman & he worked at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event. 8/17/13

While all this was going on, Kyle and I needed to get ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside.  It started at 3:30 pm, which means we needed to be there between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm to set up, sell any last minute tickets and hand out brochures to continue to get our name out there.  Not to mention it takes at least an hour from Latrobe to get to Pittsburgh, depending on the traffic.

Kyle and I had the car packed and everything ready.  I am not a procrastinator, I figure why give myself added stress that I can control, when there is always something unforeseen or uncontrollable that inevitably pops up.  That’s enough excitement for me, so that’s why Kyle and I packed the car and ran through our checklist the night prior.  We also went through the same list one last time before heading out, to cross our T’s and dot our i’s.

Duo-Pappy-Avery-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Pap & Avery taking a nap together! 8/17/13

God has really blessed us in our new adventure.  I mean it.  Recently, Thrill of the Hunt has been commissioned to develop and administer the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University, the Pittsburgh Marathon is having Thrill of the Hunt build a scavenger hunt for the race expo, Exploring Inspiration Scavenger Hunt and for their 10k, 5k, Pet Walk in North Park this October, Witches Brew Scavenger Hunt.  Did I mention thus far, for all of our scavenger hunt events we’ve had perfect weather?  Yes!  I know the weather will never cooperate one hundred percent, but to start out and get acclimated to our scavenger hunt events, it certainly does help.

WannaBe-80s-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -19 Aunt Heather Piper

I’m ready to get the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt on the way! We had a perfect day! 8/17/13

The WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt went off without a hitch!  It’s funny, Kyle was being such a kid during the day, wanted everyone to play his card game and wanted to sit on his iPod and play games and not practice his piano or read his Lord of the Rings The Two Towers book, yet when he was in the car with me and most certainly when we got to Shadyside to set up, Kyle changed his tune quickly, without being asked.  Kyle didn’t complain one bit, he went right to work helping to set up and he even started reaching out the pedestrians supplying them with brochures.  He was supporting Thrill of the Hunt in best possible manner.  When he met with people, he shook their hands confidently and truly was the perfect assistant!  I don’t know if Kyle likes the work, enjoys being part of the company or is just innately aware I would kick his butt if he misbehaved.  But he was a great business partner and the perfect assistant!

Kyle & Aunt Heather Piper TextingEither way, as like most times hanging with Kyle, we had a great time!  I try to be very approachable and friendly to potential clients when I’m representing Thrill of the Hunt.  I stand by my station ready to answer inquisitive looks and comments as those unknown to Thrill of the Hunt walk by.  Yes, I stand for the hours it takes to complete the scavenger hunts, unlike Kyle.  One of his weaknesses.  To keep his body from complete shock, I had him stand with me in little spurts before he would retreat to his bench to sit and relax.  I’m fine with that, for now!

Kyle cracked me up!  During the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt, the participants not only had to figure out the riddles, but they had online challenges to execute as well.  I also had to review the online activity to see if anyone was stumped or questioning a specific clue.  Yes, so while I was greeting “passerbyers”, I was also following the online activity.  During all this, Kyle was texting my sister to see the status of the mad house back home.  Then, to throw me off my concentration, Kyle began to send me funny text messages, like asking if my legs were tired and calling me a Bad Girl (inside joke within our family due to the labeling on the butt of my sisters underwear).  Kyle was cracking me up!

Side story.  The last time I was down at my sisters, we were commissioned to develop and administer to the Discover Scavenger Hunt for a five year old birthday party.  That Friday night, after I got in, I came around the corner to ask Nicole something, while she was in the kitchen and what did my eyes read?  Yep, Bad Girl written across her underwear as she stood at the sink.  Immediately, I lost it!  I could barely say, “Bad Girl” when Nicole instantly busted out laughing, while running to the bathroom.  She was laughing so hard she had to pee!  Now I couldn’t just let something like that only be shared between the two of us, so I told my family.  Mom, died laughing!  Even dad got a chuckle out of it.  But Kyle thought it was the funniest thing he’s ever heard.  Since then, everyone once in a while we just say, “Bad Girl!”.  It cracks us all up!  Especially Kyle, who loves being in on the inside joke.

WannaBe-80-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -4 Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle promoting Thrill of the Hunt & getting ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside, Pittsburgh Pa. 8/17/13

Well, the feedback from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt participants were very positive.  I didn’t have a huge turnout, but enough to make the event fun.  It seems like I can’t give the tickets away for my scavenge hunt events lately, at least at present day.  Although I have a feeling, that comment will be just unbelievable and silly in the future.  Especially, when it catches on that these themed scavenger hunts are challenging, interactive and just plain fun!  Not to mention, my scavenger hunts also help to support and promote small communities and local merchants.  Win, win for everyone!

When we got back to the house, it was still standing and everyone learned to calm down a bit.  Kyle was back to being my fun little man again, especially after I was praising him for his help and behavior.  We celebrated with Primanti Brothers sandwiches and we rented The Burbs.  Perfect evening to a crazy day!

Please vote for Thrill of the Hunt!  We have a chance to win a commercial during the Superbowl!  We need all the votes!  Everyone can vote daily, so keep them coming!!

VOTE HERE!  Thrill of the Hunt

 

Check out the pictures / videos from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt from our Gallery page, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube!

Follow the Hunt!

                   

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Who Does Kyle Favor More, His Dad?

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.   ~Author Unknown

Ryan's-Birthday-&-back-of-Aunt-Heather-Piper-head

Ryan’s birthday party.  Yes Ryan’s wearing Mork & Mindy suspenders & yes that’s the back of my head & our cousin Tim, inspecting Ryan’s gifts. 1979

Sometimes we sit back and wonder, ‘Who does Kyle favor more?’.  It has been the topic of many conversations over the years.  Not because it really truly matters, but out of sheer curiosity.  At times, Kyle is like a mirror image of one of us and other times we see blended traits.  I guess there are two sides to the coin when making a comparison, the physical and the behavioral characteristics.

Let me start with Kyle’s dad, Ryan, my brother.  Seems like the best place to start, especially since Ryan’s half the reason Kyle exists in the first place.  When Kyle was first born and when he aged into a really little tyke, he looked like a spitting image of Ryan as a child!  Comparing images of the two, they were certainly similar, almost twins.  Naturally the resemblance helps with the blond hair and blue eyes, but the shape of his face and his smile were all his dad’s, even down to his teeth.  As for the rest of him, he was a mix between my dad and my sister.  Kyle always had a thick neck and legs and a stocky frame, unlike Ryan, who always had long skinny legs and a frame to match.

Ryan-waiting-for-Kyle-Latrobe-Hospital-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Ryan waiting for Kyle to arrive at Latrobe Hospital. Ryan & Kyle both LOVE donuts 7/30/01

Kyle not only shows some of Ryan’s physical characteristics, but Ryan’s behavioral demeanor really seeps out of Kyle’s pores.  I guess I’m talking about sugar!  Yes Ryan loved sugar!  He would put so much on his cereal it basically was a paste of sugar milk.  Gross!  Every time I watch Men In Black and the “Edger” alien asks for sugar water, I totally think of Ryan.  Ryan could have hung out with the alien and Kyle could have easily joined that group.  Both, Kyle and his dad alike, have been caught dipping their fingers in the raw sugar to sample.  Like they forgot what it tasted like!  And let’s not forget the container of chocolate milk mix.  Both boys had a sampling of that contents a time or two.  Ironically, each one having a sweet tooth did draw them into candy.  Neither one really ate much candy, but the pair had an affinity for pastries, cakes and treats.  The only difference is Ryan could eat.  I mean put away food like he never ate before.

Once when Ryan and I were in high school, we came home and started watching TV.  Naturally, after a long day of draining the brain, we were both starving.  Now I will admit, I used to have a huge appetite, being able to consume large amounts of food and out eat everyone I knew, except Ryan.  Ryan went to the kitchen to grab a bunch of bananas.  Not two or three in this bunch, there was at least eight or nine bananas there.  Without blinking an eye, he sat and peeled one banana and ingested it in three or four bites, then proceeded to the next.  Once he got through four bananas, I couldn’t help but stare in amazement.  Ryan looked at me and sincerely asked, “What?”  In complete disbelief over this consumption of food, I said, “I really want a banana but I’m afraid to grab for one, for fear of loosing my hand.”  He laughed and simply said, “I’m hungry!”  Obviously!  He continued on a steady ingestion course until he polished off about six bananas before slowing down.  Amazing!  And his waistline never went above 29 inches, until he hit his twenties then it went to 30 inches.

Ryan-in-pj's-1981-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Ryan in his pj’s c. 1981

Ryan didn’t eat horribly, but he was never concerned with healthy choices.  When he would stop at McDonald’s, he would not only pick up one double Big Mac, but he would eat two or three!  Kyle doesn’t have an appetite like that, the food similarities end with the sugar and the love of fruit and meat.  But Ryan was never a picky eater.  I can’t really say the same for Kyle, even though he does pretty good about giving different food choices a try.

Kyle has always had an infatuation with wheels, cars, the sounds of an engine and big equipment.  Always!  There are a few simple stories I’d like to share to truly put this into perspective.  First, I’d like to point out that some traits are taught and some are environmental.  Ryan passed away when Kyle was three months old, therefore, I can only believe that there is a gene somewhere inside Kyle supplied directly from Ryan, or Ryan is in heaven encouraging and guiding the young man.  Either way, it’s pretty funny.

While attending Seton Hill University for my second degree, I had to babysit Kyle.  This was not a new concept, if the family was working and I had to watch my beloved little man, I would take him to school with me.  Getting pretty creative when attending classes, I would pass Kyle along to my friends who had free time, until I was able to pick up my responsibility.  Being the only one to stand to loose if I missed a class, I never did, not to mention I was paying for my own education.  It worked out brilliantly!  In fact, one spring semester during finals week, I happened to be toting around my favorite little man.  My friend Sarah was kind enough to watch him on campus while I fulfilled my final exam requirements.  At the time, Seton Hill was building the Athletic Center so there were plenty of big trucks moving dirt and material.  Sarah walked him around the campus and stopped to let him watch the construction sight.  She said he loved it!  Unbeknownst to her, we already knew that Kyle loved trucks and equipment, but it was still cute and amazing at the same time.  His infatuation with the large equipment and the noises put a smile on Sarah’s face, as well as mine.

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Ryan holding his newborn baby son -Kyle 7/30/01

On a side note, for all those who say they can’t tend to a child while attending school and having other responsibilities hasn’t really tried.  I am not the only one who has made this happen.  With the grace of God and support of family and friends, anything is possible if wanted enough.  To this day I still appreciate the efforts of my friends and professors!

Sometimes when Kyle and I would drive past a construction sight, he would intently stare in amazement at the life size Tonka trucks.  Then, without missing a beat he would begin to make engine noises, revving and shifting.  He almost looked like he was imagining himself in the vehicle moving the earth.  In fact, he continues to do that to this day!

Once when mom and I were at a funeral and there was an elderly person sitting in a wheelchair minding their own business.  Kyle, being two or three years old, walked over to the wheelchair, sat down, and started to move the wheels.  It looked like Kyle was going to shoot the person into the casket!  The poor victim of a push and run, had no idea what was going on because Kyle was obstructed by the back of the wheelchair due to his lack of vertical length.  Who would think they needed to be protected at a funeral while hanging out in a wheelchair?  Apparently, Kyle should have come with a warning.  As soon as it happened, I whisked up the perpetrator and saved us all from a potential embarrassing situation that would have surely won America’s Funniest Videos.

Ryan-with-his-pap-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Ryan hanging with his pap on his birthday wearing his Mork & Mindy suspenders 1979

The comparisons don’t stop there.  Even though Kyle is now eleven, we’ve had years to see the similarities.  Believe it or not, Kyle loved to help out with house chores and work.  He was a hard worker and enjoyed it, well that is until a few years ago when he was influenced differently.  That was also the about the same time he discovered video games and found laziness.  Kyle loved to vacuum, dust, help with the dishes and stack firewood.  I mean it!  He would cry if he couldn’t help anyone who was doing chores.  We would put him to work, which not only helped him physically but helped to build his character and work ethic.  Plus Kyle is part of the family and everyone pitches in around the house.  We always have, and continue to do so.

My brother was such a hard worker.  When he was nine he started working in my parents sawmill during the summers.  Yes, nine-years-old and he worked!  Throughout his short life, he worked and worked hard, never complaining and never missing a beat.  Eventually, when he became a machinist he would function as a part-time mechanic on the weekend for extra cash.  Not because he was greedy, he was the farthest thing, but because he needed the moola.  I completely respect that!  No one paved his way and he never took the easy road.

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Kyle hanging with is pap 11/18/03

Granted Kyle’s work ethic and motivation are not quite comparable now-a-days, but we still continue to push him along, for his own sake.  He is eleven and knows how to do laundry, cook, clean, grocery shop and yard work.  I believe that’s a good starting point and a great foundation.

While I’m on the topic of good character, Ryan was a kind and honest person.  He was sincere and not malicious in any way.  Proudly, these are characteristics I have seen from Kyle and they were certainly passed down from father to son.  Ryan would help anyone out, whether it was for a specific skill needed that Ryan possessed, or it was just the assistance of his brawn.  If someone needed help moving or work done on their car, Ryan was always the first in line to lend a helping hand.  He certainly took care of my car for years, changing the oil, replacing my breaks, cutting my drums and rotors and the list goes on and on.  He would never take a penny from me.  He just wanted to help.

Kyle-&-Paula-2001-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Paula & Kyle 2001

On another side note, Ryan was a bean pole yet he was a very strong lanky guy.  One would have never have guessed he was as strong as he was, but I can personally verify it!

Even through Kyle always has a determination to get out of doing work, he is a good hearted individual.  He never wants to see anyone upset or in pain.  His heart bleeds for those around him, especially the ones he loves.  Just to redeem Kyle a bit, when help is truly needed, Kyle is there to assist, well maybe to bark orders, but I guess that’s his way.

It wouldn’t be a true comparison if Lego’s weren’t addressed!  Nothing captures Kyle’s attention more, than the mention of that word.  LEGO’s!  Even to this day he is still obsessed. (Lego Obsessive or Driven, Happy Lego Birthday Kyle – 11 Years Old!, Are Professions Born or Taught Part 3, Seattle – Twilight Pilgrimage Part 4 and the list goes on)  Ryan had Lego’s but didn’t really take such a liking to them as Kyle.  Although Ryan liked to work with his hands.  He would build in other ways and tear apart to investigate the inner workings of objects, much like Kyle’s curiosity.

Sometime in elementary school, Ryan decided to take apart a little black and white TV we had.  He was curious to see how it worked and how the innards were put together.  Did you know, you should unplug electronics before dissecting them?  Lesson learned on Ryan’s part.  We knew Ryan was up to no good because all of a sudden the breaker switched over and killed the juice to part of the house.  The part that included Ryan’s bedroom, Kyle’s current bedroom.  Just like Kyle, always curious to see the guts, the inner workings of objects and devices.  Although I’ll give Kyle credit, he would never have made such an error.  Kyle would have thought the process through before attacking it and simply unplugged the television set to be safe.

Ryan-with-his-godparents-Paula-&-Joe-1977 Aunt Heather Piper

Ryan with his godparents Paula & Joe 1977

Then, let’s not forget about Ryan’s first truck.  It could have been called a piece of art or just plain junk.  First of all it was a beater, that goes without saying, but he customized it.  I’m not talking about putting it up on blocks or adding a spoiler.  Nope!  Ryan decided he wanted to modify it so no one could really drive it.  He reworked the wiring so the horn was not a horn but controlled something else, same goes for the windshield wipers etc.  In addition to the internal parts being modified, he did manage to custom create his own exhaust pipe.  He welded it to snake up past the door and remain vertical with a flap on top.  Yes it looked like a big truck’s exhaust!  He thought that was funny and creative.  You know what? I’ll give him that!

Kyle loves to build.  More-than-not he likes structure and everything the way they its suppose to be, not a lot of free interpretation.  Ryan and Kyle similar in the arena of talented mechanical building, yet Kyle is more structured like my sister, which I’ll get to that comparison next.  Kyle is a building machine and structural visionary, like Ryan, just in a different way.

Kyle’s still growing so only time will tell if Ryan’s genes will ultimately take over, physically and characteristically.  He is certainly a part of his dad, no question.  There are so many other characteristics and stories to call out, maybe another blog post!  Next up, Nicole!  To be continued…

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Church,Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Jennifer Schuett’s Story

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness.  Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.  Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.  ~August Wilson

This story has nothing to do with Kyle and yet has everything to do with him.  Recently, September 8, 2011 to be exact, I went to a case study lecture at Seton Hill University.  I received the invite via Facebook and upon reading the description, I was taken back.  I kinda remembering seeing this case on the news, but not really remembering or knowing the full story.

Jennifer Schuett and Aunt Heather Piper and Darby

Me with Jennifer Schuett and Darby Zerbini at Seton Hill University 9/8/11

Let me give you a very brief synopsis.  Jennifer was kidnapped at the age of eight from her Texas bedroom in the middle of the night by a stranger, raped, and had her throat sliced from ear to ear before being dumped in an overgrown field to die.  Fortunately, Jennifer was found and made a full recovery including her ability to speak, which was medically impossible.  Over the years, Jennifer worked with law enforcement officials, local news, and became proactive with online tools to help solve her case.  Nearly 20 years later, Jennifer helped to find her attacker.

As I was saying, Jennifer came to the University to share her story, and her message of hope and strength.  Now, going to this lecture definitely was a tough one, but it was something I wanted to hear.  Mostly because I thought I might hear information to help protect Kyle in one way or another, or what to do, Lord forbid there was a serious crime situation.  Jennifer’s story was very inspiring, and yes I did get what I wanted out of the lecture, but I also went away with so much more.

Jennifer Schuett at Seton Hill University

Jennifer Schuett's case study lecture

Jennifer, at the age of eight, while in the hospital with her throat slashed, not being able to speak, gave the police a full description of the attacker, his name, and a description of the car.  This was done through writing notes!  Today, that still amazes me.  How do I know this?  During Jennifer’s lecture she had a very detailed PowerPoint presentation put together containing images of the drivers license of the attacker, taken at the time of the crime, and the police sketch drawn, all based off of her written descriptions.  Same with the car!  Amazing!!  Something else that Jennifer said, which I can see, but really made me stop and take note, was how the police used her information, or I should say didn’t really use her information.  They dismissed her accounts of the attack!  They said she was in shock, being nearly on the brink of death, and she wasn’t thinking correctly to be accurate.  Plus, I’m sure they dismissed her because she was an eight-year-old girl.  What they didn’t realize was Jennifer now was on a mission that would ultimately take almost 20 years to solve, with or without their help.

Respect comes in many forms and I think listening and believing in children is one not to be taken lightly.  I know Kyle has said and done some very profound things, sometimes they are absolutely brilliant!  Children can accomplish so much, especially with the right guidance and encouragement.  Jennifer is walking testament to that.

Something else I got out of the lecture, something people are always looking for and sometimes it’s so obvious it’s right in front of our faces, and that’s a miracle.  Miracles do happen!  Not only was Jennifer a miracle because she lived to tell her story, but there was more to it that she explained.  During Jennifer’s stay in the hospital, before she could speak, she made a squeak noise.  Her and her mother heard it and immediately contacted the doctors.  They placed a camera down her throat to view her voice-box while she tried to make sounds.  Nothing!  The doctors said she will never be able to speak again.  The next morning she woke up able to talk.  It was almost as if God said, tell your story Jennifer.  I mean, she remembered EVERY detail of the crime and now she had a voice to speak out.  I know we all have a purpose in life and Jennifer has been on the right path with her activism against child crimes.  She didn’t sit back and ignore this tragedy, she accepted it and used the voice God gave her.

Please read her story, it is truly inspiring!  www.JusticeForJennifer.com

 

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,News,Observation & Imagination and have No Comments
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