Homer-Center: Brian Bertig, Megan Heise
Brian Bertig, Homer-Center High School's male nominee, feels that the biggest challenge that his young generation must face is its ability to set standards and focus on what is important.
That may be one of the reasons why the son of Jerry and Cindy Bertig, of Coral, will attend St. Vincent College in the fall to major in economics, with hopes of someday becoming a financial analyst.
That way, he can assist people with setting financial standards.
"We live in a society that is going through huge technological advances and sociological changes," Bertig said. "In a world of rapid change, strong leaders must emerge to productively develop new ideas and concepts. Individuals must stand for what they believe in and set a strong example, demonstrating what they can do."
Bertig definitely overcame the challenge of that often precarious balance between academics and athletics.
A two-time earner of varsity letters in football, he also obtained three letters in cross country and four letters in both track and basketball.
On top of that, he was voted class president since his eighth grade year, and was the Student Council and National Honor Society president, as well as being a member of the Principals' Advisory Committee,
Bertig rounded out his in-school activities with his work as the Yearbook editor, being chosen as the Most Valuable Player of both the Heritage Conference Math Team and the Quiz Bowl Team, and was a a member of the Future Business Leaders of America.
A five-year participant in the school's Youth and Government program, he also served as a statewide officer and a national representative.
A singer in the senior high Chorus, Men's Choir and the Mixed Ensemble, his musical inclinations took him to County Band three times and County Chorus twice. He was in five musicals and landed the lead role in the senior class play.
Bertig also was a senior officer of the Varsity Club, a member of the Homecoming Court, and a Chess Club member. An active member of St. Francis Church, Bertig has been an altar server there for 10 years. At St. Francis Church is where Bertig learned some of his volunteer habits. He is also a festival volunteer for St. Louis parish, and coordinated the school-wide Love Basket collections around Thanksgiving and the Make-A-Wish collections at Christmas.
Wintertime brought Christmas caroling with the school National Honor Society, and he served at Thanksgiving dinners prepared for the needy, and volunteered his time to work in the Youth and Government booth at the Hoodlebug Festival in Homer City.
Singing Christmas carols with the National Honor Society was the service project that Bertig found the most meaningful for him. "It's satisfying to go and brighten people's days, and there is no better feeling that to see the smiles that flash back at us when we begin to sing."
Bertig received many academic awards throughout high school, including the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award, Principals' Leadership Award, and Regional Future Business Leaders of America Economics. He was distinguished as a Heritage Conference Scholar- Athlete and was named best Senator of Youth and Government Model Legislature.
Many people contributed to Bertig's success in his life so far, but aside from his parents, he also named Rick Foust, Homer-Center high school principal, as a great life influence.
"Not only has he taught me math and coached me in running, but he has also been a friend and mentor in many different areas and is always helping me in things within the school and in my life," he remarked. "Over the past seven years, he has been extremely helpful to my successful development as a student and a person."
Homer-Center High School's female nominee is Megan Heise, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Heise, of Homer City.
When she heads off to Colgate University in the fall, it will be with a completely open mind. …