Last updated: February 19. 2013 4:38PM - 420 Views

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Pittston Area School District 10th Grade Student Kristen Richards is the 2012 AMVETS Department of Pennsylvania National Essay contest winner for her essay Why I'm Proud to be an American.

She was the recipient of a weekend visit to the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Youth Leadership Conference. Photo is

Wins competition

Alena Carabetta, 10, daughter of Jason and Franceen Carabetta was crowned Miss Magical Moments Mini National at the Mini National Magical Moments Olympic Dreams competition in Budd Lake, New Jersey.

Alena competed in the 10 to 12 age category in the modeling competition in the gown, sportswear and Olympic division of the competition. She won a crown, banner and medal.

Alena is a member of the All Star Cheerleading Academy, Jessup. Her competitive team will be traveling to Nashville, Tennessee in April. Alena loves gymnastics, dance, cheerleading and skiing. Alena has an older sister Luchia and a younger brother Matteo. She is the granddaughter of Frank and Mary Lou Pisano, Wyoming and Carol and Ed Carabetta, Hopatcong, New Jersey.

Earns doctorate

In August, 2012, Jonathan Kotula defended his doctoral thesis at Duke University, earning a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and microbiology.

Jonathan performed his thesis research titled, Achieving Cell-Specific Delivery of Multiple Oligonucleotide Therapeutics with Aptamer Chimeras under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce A. Sullenger, Director of the Duke Translational Research Institute.

Over the course of his research, he published multiple journal articles and was invited to present his research at conferences in Japan, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.

While at Duke, Jonathan was involved in many leadership and entrepreneurial activities including the patenting of his research, and the formation of a small company.

He and three friends co-founded an annual charity event called The Doughman ( www.doughman.org), which is a 4-person team race that takes place on Memorial Day weekend, and was featured on the Travel Channel show, Man vs. Food.

The Doughman has raised over $100,000 to date, and supports educational programs for at-risk youth such as SEEDS, an educational community garden in Durham, NC. He also led the graduate and professional student men's basketball committee where he had an opportunity to meet Coach Krzyzewski, and Coach Knight.

Jonathan, the son of Deborah Stevens, Dupont and Walter Kotula, Dupont is a 2005 graduate of Penn State University with degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology, and bioengineering.

He is also a 2001 graduate of Pittston Area High School. He is the grandson of Elizabeth Tarutis, Barnesville, PA and the late Leonard Tarutis and Laura Kotula, Dupont and the late Edward Kotula.

Roast beef today

St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church will hold its annual Patron Saint Dinner today, Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Church Hall, 205 North Main Street, Pittston from 1 to 3 p.m.

Take outs anytime during the dinner.

Menu includes roast beef, gravy, Italian beans and red beets, cake for dessert and coffee, tea or soft drink.

A raffle with a variety of prizes will be held.

The public is invited to attend.

St. Michael's is served by Father Joseph Bertha, PhD.

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