* First Annual Joseph Nava Scholarship Awarded

Nava scholarship finalists-smIf you attended Greensburg Salem between 1953 and 1986, you probably remember Mr. Joseph Nava. He spent most of his academic career in what was then known as the Junior High – teaching history, coaching wrestling and finally serving as the principal from 1975-1986.

Mr. Nava was a dedicated educator, father, and husband. Throughout his long career, the underdogs and individuals who suffered injustices quickly discovered that he was their passionate and effective defender. That is why, when he passed away last summer, his family decided to create a scholarship in his name.

Working through the Greensburg Salem Education Foundation, memorial gifts were made in Nava’s name. Enough money was raised through those donations to offer $1,000 scholarship to a 2015 graduating senior. His children, Sally Nava Llovet and Jerry Nava created the scholarship around the murals by Christian Walter located in the front lobby of what is now GS Middle School on Main Street. “My father loved those paintings,” commented Sally. “In fact he drew inspiration from them and their inscription, Sow ye well in the Springtime of life…So there may be a harvest abundant. Those words guided both his professional and personal life.”

The scholarship was offered to students who have shown resilience and grit in the face of adversity and challenges and who demonstrated a commitment to community service through current activities, community involvement, life goals, or career plans. Each applicant was required to write an essay based on the above quote from the mural, elaborating on what those words mean to them personally.

“We were so moved by the power of the essays we received,” shared Llovet Nava. “Each student had a different story to tell but they all showed that the students understood the essence of the quote. My father would have been thrilled with their entries.”

In fact, the students’ essays were so moving that it inspired additional $1,000 contribution from Mr. Nava’s widow, VaLeria Pantalone Nava. Other family members of the scholarship committee also added to this year’s scholarship total. As a result for the first year of the Joseph Nava Scholarship, $2,250 will be awarded. Five finalists were chosen and interviewed by committee members. The finalist are Nicholas Alwine, Rachael Hensel, Nikolas Hughey, Ryan Stiffey, and Blaise Venturini. The winner(s) will be announced at the First Annual Joseph Nava Scholarship Fundraiser.

The fundraiser was held on May 15 from 6:30-8:30 PM in the Greensburg Salem Middle School lobby, surrounded by Nava’s beloved and inspirational murals. This fundraiser enabled the family to continue Mr. Nava’s legacy of service to the community through future scholarships.  For more information please contact – Cindy Fetchero at cfetchero@gmail.com 724-454-0687; Sally Nava at sallynavallovet@hotmail.com 412-992-7945; or the Greensburg Salem Education Foundation at arometo@wiu.k12.pa.us 724-832-2907.