The Spirit of Excellence Lives On Through Philanthropy
by Christine Moss
Gretchen Moss was born March 28,1974 to Arnold and Christine Moss and grew up in Kittanning. She attended Kittanning Senior High and graduated from the consolidated Armstrong Central Senior High in 1992. Gretchen was inducted into the National Honor Society, played flute in the marching band, sang in the chorus and in district and regional choruses, worked on stage sets and performed in the school musicals: Carousel, Annie Get Your Gun, West Side Story and Fame. She was creative and loved art. As a child she made Christmas gifts for her family–one year bookmarks for all, another year colorful, crocheted scarves for all. In senior high, she learned to carve Santas from her art instructor, JoAnne Tyrrell. She sat for hours carving and then painting them to give as gifts in 1992. Gretchen kept a journal and recorded the good and bad of being a teenager. She liked to get dressed up and kept her nails manicured and polished.
Gretchen loved to talk (she talked very fast when she was excited), and was an excellent listener when friends called. She learned tolerance from a household of mixed religions; she attended services at church and the synogogue. Gretchen was compassionate and put her compassion into practice in a work-study position at a community action agency in Meadville during her freshman year at Allegheny College.
It was the first week of May of 1993 and Gretchen was full of plans. She had just finished her second semester at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA and was home with a friend for a few days to study for finals. She requested her favorite foods (tapioca was one), helped her sister, Claire, get ready for the junior-senior prom, and set up an interview with Carnegie Museum in Oakland to volunteer for the summer. Gretchen had made new friends at Allegheny College by joining a sorority and had reconnected with her high school friends that spring through letters and a get-together at her friend Brook’s house. On Friday afternoon, May 7, she and her friend left home to return to Allegheny for an evening final. Gretchen was killed in an auto accident on the way back to school.
A scholarship fund was established immediately to help us, her family, deal with Gretchen’s death in a positive, constructive way. We want to remember her always and seek to do this by helping other young people realize their dreams and aspirations through education by rewarding the development of their talents and skills in music, fine arts, or writing and their excellent academic performance. Leo Buscaglia could have been speaking for us when he wrote in his book Bus 9 to Paradise, “It is difficult to part with such a positive force in my life. But nothing is forever. In reality we never lose the people we love. They become immortal through us. They continue to live in our hearts and minds. They participate in our every act, idea and decision. No one will ever replace them and in spite of the pain we are richer for all the years invested in them. Because of them, we have so much more to bring to our present relationships and all those to come.” For this reason, the Gretchen Moss Memorial Scholarship has been awarded yearly since June, 1993.
Available to High School Seniors
The Moss Memorial Scholarship is a nonrenewable gift of $3,650.
- The applicant must:
- be a senior graduating from Armstrong Jr./Sr. High School
- display interest and proficiency in the fine and/or performing arts
- be academically strong
- display solid evidence of leadership capability
- present high moral standards as shown by a strong character
- have strong commitments to family and school
- be accepted for admission to a four-year college or university
All applicants must complete the scholarship application and complete the following essay question.
Please attach an essay of no more than one page in which you define what your involvement in the fine and/or performing arts has meant to you during high school and how you hope to incorporate that interest into your adult life.
- 2005-06 Jenna Micsky
- 2006-07 Jessie Nicole Coven
- 2007-08 Jacob George
- 2008-09 Meaghan Volek
- 2009-10 Nathan Turco
- 2010-11 Neil Turco
- 2011-12 Kevin Treacy
- 2012-13 Sarah Claypool
- 2013-14 Mark Wasilko
- 2014-15 Erick Shiring
- 2015-16 Roxanne Crissman
- 2016-17 Kendra Hale
- 2017-18 Hunter Frazier
- 2018-19 Nolan Turco & Taylor Mercatell
- 2019-20 Hannah Trithart & Olivia Emmonds