Reaching out to help kids

The annual Gala Pittsburgh Sports Night brought together the three professional sports teams in the city, along with local colleges, to help support Northside Catholic School.

While this is the 14th year for the event, Northside Catholic is a newly merged school with students from Cardinal Wright and St. Cyril of Alexandria.

"I think it's a real sign of the commitment and dedication of the whole community of the North Side, our business leaders, the teams and so many people who care about our kids on the North Side getting a good education," said Reverend Kris Stubna, Secretary for Catholic Education. "We believe in what we are doing. We know the Catholic schools can really transform the lives of the kids that come to us. It's not easy to do. It requires a lot of sacrifices. To know there are other people who believe in what we are doing and want to help, it gives you hope."

The event, which included the induction of the Extra Mile Education Foundation and the Pittsburgh Pirates Alumni Association into the North Side Hall of Fame, raises funds to help operate Northside Catholic, as well as provide tuition assistance for those in need.

"This kind of support sustains us," said Principal Margaret Bookser. "Being dependent upon tuition and fundraising, anything of this magnitude we can't replicate ourselves. I think that is one of the beauties of Pittsburgh. We are a small big town. We support each other and reach out and help other venues in the community. "

Current Steelers players Charlie Batch, Jonathan Dwyer, David Johnson, Jonathan Scott and Stevenson Sylvester signed autographs while former Steelers Craig Bingham, Larry Brown, Louis Lipps and Mike Wagner mingled with the crowd.

"I am always for giving back," said Dwyer. "It's great to help give kids the opportunity to excel and live their dreams of whatever they want to be, not just football or athletics, it can being a lawyer, doctor, dentist, teacher or principal. Whatever their goal is, you want to give them that opportunity.

"That is what Pittsburgh is all about. It's about family. That is what the Steelers are about and it's good to see that is what all of Pittsburgh is about."

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