Roughly 25 North Hills freshmen were selected to be part of the Will Allen Foundation's Quest for Real Life Success program this fall. The program is sponsored and mentored by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Will Allen in an effort to pay forward the positive experiences he had as a young man. Eighth and ninth-grade teachers from North Hills were asked to nominate students for the program based on leadership skills they'd seen students demonstrate last year at the middle school and early during this school year. Nominees completed a lengthy application and submitted an essay explaining their interest in community service and leadership. From that pool, the 25 students were selected. Aidan Knupsky, freshman INF/RHP, is the only North Hills baseball player in the program.
The program meets every other Tuesday after school. Students learn real-life skills, hear guest speakers and do community service projects. The program's annual holiday outing saw the North Hills freshmen mentor a group of youngsters from a Boys and Girls Club in the Sto-Rox area during a holiday shopping trip at the Kmart in McIntyre Square on December 15. The foundation provided each child with a $150 gift card, and each North Hills freshman was paired with a child to help them select gifts for their families. After all the shopping was done, Will Allen gifted each child (not the freshmen) with a pair of headphones, and the North Hills students helped the children load all of their purchases onto the school bus for the trip back to Sto-Rox.
Students involved in the Quest for Real Life Success will take part for all four years of their high school careers at North Hills. Will Allen himself is very hands-on with the kids and makes as many sessions as his football schedule will allow. This is the second class of North Hills freshman to be enrolled in the program. The first class "graduated" from the program last spring