Familiar Faces

Over 20 NASH staff members once walked these very halls as students.


photo by D. Crickets

A surprisingly large number of NASH teachers graduated from NA.

Abby Pingpank, News Editor

For most teachers at NASH, their own high school years are a distant memory. However, for a select few, they are reminded of their past every day. 

English teacher Mrs. Omasits graduated North Allegheny in 2002. While there were no major physical changes to the building when she began her teaching career here, she did notice a change in atmosphere.

I think the biggest change is just the number of rules now.  And don’t get me wrong– the rules are necessary to keep everyone safe,” she said. “But there were no rules when I was here. It was perfectly acceptable to smoke in the bathrooms, leave in the middle of the day without an excuse, and come in whenever you wanted.” 

But for math teacher Mrs. Manesiotis, graduate of 1994, the building itself has in fact changed since she spent her student days here.

“The 40’s hallway where my classroom is located was a new addition put on in the early 2000s.  I really enjoy my classroom window with ‘oceanfront property’ overlooking the baseball field,” Manesiotis said. 

photo by D. Crickets

Mrs. Long, another teacher in the English Department, graduated from North Allegheny in 2004. 

Generally I would say that the classrooms and overall appearance of the building are the same, but the cafeteria has been updated since I went here. We did not have booths as an option for seating, and some of the layout was different as well,” Long said. 

The number of NASH staff members who once walked these very halls as students is surprising large. Along with Manesiotis, Omasits, and Long, Mrs. Failla (1991), Mr. Schmiech (2010), Mr. Tozier (1988), Mrs. Allen (1991), Mrs. Bielawski (1990), Mrs. Brudnok (2007), Mr. Bugle (1998), Ms. Butler (2000), Mr. Jewel (2012), Mr. Karolski (2016), Mr. Kodenkandeth(1991), Mr. Kyriaszis (1990), Mr. Long (2003), Mrs. Murphy (1987), Mr. Omasits (1999), Mr. Ruppert (2012), Mrs. Schwerin (1978), Mrs. Testa (1976), Mrs. Walters (2001), Mr. Mohr (1991), and Mr. Zebley (2000) all are graduates of North Allegheny. 

With over 20 members of the NASH staff being graduates from NA, it would seem likely that some of them knew each other before becoming colleagues.  But that’s not especially common.

“I actually am in a book club with Mrs. Omasits, but I didn’t know her when I was a student at NA,” Long said. 

Yet Omasits and Long do have strong ties to two other NASH teachers, as both happen to teach alongside their spouses, who are also NA grads.

My husband [chemistry teacher Dan Long] also graduated from NA (2003), and so I obviously know him, ha!” Long said.  

Omasits, however, got to know her husband better after high school.

“I knew of my husband [science teacher Chris Omasits], but he was dating a friend of a friend,” she said. 

For other NASH teachers who are NA grads, some of their colleagues are their former high school students.

“I taught Mrs. Walters,” Manesiotis said. “She was a senior student in my trigonometry class my first-year teaching at NA.”

Mrs. Long’s colleagues who were once her teachers are quite numerous.

“I had Mrs. Morris for my senior year Honors English class, and Mr. Lyons, Mrs. Keats, and Mr. Maddix in the Social Studies Department,” she said. “Mr. Neff was also my physics teacher while I was here, and I had Mrs. Manesiotis for math,” said Mrs. Long.

The list is nearly as long for Omasits, and amazingly, she recalls her days with those teachers in sharp detail.

I had Mrs. Perry, Mr. Mohr, Mr. Davis, and Mr. Buchert when I was a student,” she said. “Mrs. Perry tutored me for the math SATs after school, and because of that, I got a higher score on math than I did on English!  Mr. Mohr made an awkward mistake one day in class about my personal life that my friends and I still laugh about. Mr. Davis taught me chemistry so well that I didn’t need to go to my college chemistry class ever and could just take the test. Mr. Buchert was extremely kind to me, even though I didn’t understand anything in his class.”

Omasits even was with two current NASH teachers on a day probably all teachers will never forget.

“I was with Mr. Solenday and Mrs. Spak when we all found out about 9/11 and watched it on the class TV,” she said.

While it’s likely the case that NASH has changed for the better over the years, there are a few things that these teachers miss.

“NA used to have a Friday half-day once a month.  It was nice to going out to lunch with friends on those days,” Mrs. Manesiotis said.

Long added, “I miss the interactions with my peers and teachers the most. I remember more so the people I interacted with in each of my classes rather than the spaces.”

But one thing is true for all of these teachers.  No matter how much time has passed, NA pride lives on.

NA is still a great place to work and to be a student,” Manesiotis said. “You will learn how lucky you are to have the education and opportunities that NA provides when you move onto college life.”