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Pine-Richland Junior Named Student Visionary of the Year

April 1, 2024

two PR students pose wearing candidate sashesAfter raising an astounding $166,245 during the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Pittsburgh’s seven-week Student Visionaries campaign, Pine-Richland junior Noah Mackie was named the Pittsburgh Student Visionary of the Year at the Grand Finale Celebration on March 22.

“Being named the 2024 Student Visionary of the Year is an amazing honor and accomplishment,” said Noah. “It feels really good to see all of our hard work pay off and to know that all of the money raised will be used to help change and save lives.”

Sixteen student teams from throughout the Pittsburgh region raised a grand total of $802,743 for this year’s campaign, including another Pine-Richland student group, Team Breaking the Odds, led by junior Jaden Persaud. Jaden was awarded with the Mission Award for Policy and Advocacy, awarded to a student who shows leadership in bringing awareness to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s research, services and mission. 

Jaden, who has been a nationally recognized cancer advocate since he was 10 years old, said he was thrilled to receive the Mission Award. “My life since my mother’s cancer diagnosis has been dedicated to cancer advocacy,” he said. “I’ve worked with many different organizations to inspire people to bring awareness of cancer and the impact cancer has on patients and families.” Team Breaking the Odds included Pine-Richland seniors Corbin Carter, Morgan Cappola, James Cerney and Blake Thompson, juniors Parker Mehlhorn and Justin Vasquez, and ninth graders William Fogliani and Blaine McGrogan.

Noah’s team, Team Nora’s Warriors, was named in honor of this year’s local LLS hero, seven-year-old Nora Caporali of Apollo. Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at two years old, today Nora is cancer-free. Noah’s team included Pine-Richland juniors Claire Dosch, Bradan Lenz, Kennedy Lutz, Mackenzie Mercuri and Katie Pifer.

“My success was largely due to the help of others,” Noah said. “I could not have done it without the help of my team members, my parents, my campaign directors and other members of the community. Also, my work ethic definitely helped because I really gave the campaign all I had and did as much as I could to help LLS.”

Jaden echoed Noah's sentiment about teamwork. “I couldn’t have done this without my incredible team members,” he said. “It’s people like this who are changing the tides in the fight against cancer.” 

Noah hopes to inspire other Pine-Richland students to participate and plans to mentor next year’s candidate. 

“I think that it is always rewarding to be a part of something much bigger than yourself,” Noah said. “Yes, this award reflects my work, but more importantly, it reflects the change I was able to create in the world.”

 students pose together on the baseball field Team breaking the odds poses with a Visionary sign