Honors Students Salute Role Models
Donovan, Sandra Fischione, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
When West Allegheny High School sophomore Lauren Azurin explained what her neighbor Sharon DeRosa meant to her, DeRosa's eyes teared up, and her voice broke slightly.
"It's such a big privilege to have someone think of you (in that way)," said DeRosa, 44, Azurin's neighbor and the mother of two boys. "I knew she did, but I didn't realize how much."
"I adopted her as the mother I lost, and she adopted me as the daughter she never had," said Lauren Azurin, 15, of North Fayette, whose mother died when she was 6.
Azurin's tribute was a biography of DeRosa she wrote as part of her honors English class at West Allegheny High School.
She and about 50 other students of 100 who completed the assignments had an opportunity to give a brief description of their role models and present the project to them last week in the high school's auditorium.
Honors English teachers Lynn Ann DeBor, Jessica Conforti and Elizabeth Shannon assigned the students the task of choosing a role model and writing a 10-page biography of that person, often accompanied by pictures.
The students also made creative timelines of their subjects' lives and did research through in-person, telephone or Internet interviews.
A few students chose role models who had died, so they interviewed others who knew the subjects well.
For some students, such as Michael Oswalt of Findlay, the research was easier. Oswalt, 16, chose his father, for whom he is named.
"He works with computers, and I'm interested in computers," said the younger Oswalt. "I was interested in interviewing him because we live together."
"When I read what he wrote, there was a lot of literary license," said his father, 51. …