Dunmoreans of the Month: Amanda & Rebecca Lucas

By Steve Svetovich

Raising two daughters as a single mom has its challenges, but Dunmore’s Janet Lucas has absolutely no regrets. And she sure did good.

Amanda Lucas, Dunmore High School Class of 2018 Valedictorian, and Rebecca Lucas, Dunmore High School Class of 2020 Salutatorian, daughters of Janet Lucas, Dunmore, and Curt Lucas, South Carolina, are now college students.

Both were officers and members of many clubs at Dunmore. Both participated in various varsity sports and cheerleading. They were asked to represent Dunmore High School in leadership roles, including the Rotary Youth Leadership Association (RYLA) and Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY). Both are active leaders in the Dunmore community.

Their proud mom feels their accomplishments are extraordinary coming from sisters two years apart. 

Dunmoreans of the Month - JANET & family

Janet Lucas, at left, is shown at her daughter Amanda’s graduation in 2018 when she was valedictorian of her class. At right is daughter Rebecca, who was salutatorian of the DHS class of 2020.

“As a single mom,” she said, “I have strived to make my daughters feel like they matter, and that they are loved unconditionally. 

“I always wanted Amanda and Rebecca to be respectful, grateful, thoughtful and conscientious. I worked hard to instill those qualities and give them a strong foundation. From there, it was all them.

“Their work ethic and self motivation is unbelievable, even when it was difficult. I am so proud of the young women they have become, and so excited to see what they will accomplish. I am in awe of my daughters.”

Amanda is a junior at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, majoring in chemistry. She has an impressive 3.97 academic average. She serves as honor’s mentor for the Honor’s Program at St. Joseph’s. She is a resident assistant (RA) for a freshmen dormitory.

While at Dunmore, Amanda participated in golf, swimming, track and field, football cheerleading, yearbook editor, events coordinator for the engineering club, treasurer of the French Club and vice president of TACT. As a senior, she was Dunmore’s first female All Regional selection for golf. And she was class valedictorian and member of the National Honor Society. 

Articulate, courteous and polite, Amanda said she learned a lot from her mom. “My mom taught me about perseverance and hard work. In order to accomplish anything in life, you need to work hard at it. And she did a lot for me to help me along.” 

Amanda said she would like to eventually go to graduate school for Forensic Science and get into the field as a career. 

She said it is nice to see her sister do well in school. “It is a friendly competition and it’s good for us. She sees what I do and then strives to do better. It’s a good thing.”

Amanda, well spoken, has high praise for Dunmore. “It was so close knit and personal. We know all the teachers and they know us. It is also kind of cool to have your coaches as teachers.

“St. Joseph’s is also a small school. I have a small major and the same kids are in most of my classes. Right now we are wearing masks and social distancing. We social distance in the residence hall.”

Rebecca, 18, is a freshman at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where she majors in Pharmacy. It is a six-year program and she has intentions of becoming a pharmacist. 

While at Dunmore, she was class salutatorian finishing with a 3.84 academic average. She was a member of track and field, golf, basketball cheerleading captain, Science Club, French Club, TACT, Art Club, SADD and National Honor Society. 

Also polite and insightful, Rebecca praised her mom. “My mom always taught me to work hard. She always tells me no matter what, it works out in the end. She is always there for me.”

Rebecca said she is grateful how Dunmore High School handled the pandemic. “Our teachers were very helpful getting us the information we needed online. They posted information on the AP test.

“Besides school work, I did a lot of running and spent time with family during the pandemic. It caused us to miss the track season.”

Finally, her class graduated this past July 17 in a small ceremony outdoors at the football stadium. 

Rebecca said her goal is to become a pharmacist and help with surgeries and new medicines. “Helping with new medicines is very important to me because of this pandemic.”

As Class of 2020 Salutatorian, she feels a sense of accomplishment. “I feel very honored. I put hard work into it and it paid off.”

She is also proud of her older sister’s accomplishments. “I have a strong sense of fulfillment for what she has done, but I don’t compare myself.”

Rebecca spoke glowingly of her experiences at Dunmore. “It was very fulfilling and heart warming. I received a great education and met a lot of amazing people.”

The sisters have one more thing in common. When asked separately who they would want to see in concert, if they could pick just one, both responded Harry Styles. 

Dunmorean of the Month: Isabella Zeller

Dunmorean Miss Buck

By Steve Svetovich

Inspiring children and helping those in need are Dunmore senior Isabella Zeller’s goals in representing her school in 2020-21 as Miss Buck.

Daughter of Aimee and Larry Zeller, Dunmore, the new Miss Buck of Dunmore High School was humble, but excited when she learned about her new role as a senior.

“I am so excited to be able to serve as a role model for younger children,” she said. She is also following in the footsteps of her mother who served as Miss Buck during the 1994-95 season.

Isabella, 17, is an honor student with a 3.3 academic average at Dunmore. She is a member of the French Club, TACT and has been a basketball cheerleader for the past eight years, serving as co-captain this year.. She is a three-year member of the Dunmore tennis team.

Isabella, modest in nature, said her best academic subject is English. She wants to study Elementary and Special Education at West Chester University after she graduates from Dunmore in 2021.

Dunmorean Miss Buck 2She talked about her goals as Miss Buck. “I want to inspire young children and be a good role model. I hope to inspire young children to be twirlers. I want to help those in need.”

And her future goals? “I want to go to West Chester and become a special education teacher. I want to help young children with special needs.”

Isabella said she loves twirling and learned to twirl under the direction of the prominent Sherry Rubino Nicolais, Dunmore. She has been a twirler for the past 10 years. 

The Dunmore senior said her parents taught her well. “My parents always taught me to be kind to those in need.”

Isabella’s number one mentor in life is her grandpa, Thomas Carr. “My grandpa has always been a very hard worker,” she said, “He teaches me to never give up on anything. I learned about the value of hard work from him. He is retired, but worked for Dunmore Roofing and drove for UPS. He worked hard for everything he has in life.”

Isabella said she kept busy during the COVID-19 pandemic by practicing to become Miss Buck and preparing for the upcoming season.

She is proud to represent Dunmore High School as Miss Buck. “Dunmore High School has provided me with lifelong friends,” she said. “The bond you make with your classmates here is so incredibly strong and unbreakable. Dunmore has made me the person I am today.”

Isabella is an active participant in “Tomorrow’s Leaders of Today.” Her favorite musical artist is Harry Styles. “I like him because he treats people with kindness,” she said.

“I am really looking forward to my senior year and beyond,” she said. “I want to be a good role model for my school and set a good example for young children. I have great classmates and friends here at Dunmore. It is just a great experience.” 

Dunmorean of the Month: Maria MacDonald

Maria MacDonald 1By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore’s Maria Pane MacDonald, program director for interior architecture at Marywood University School of Architecture, was named executive director of the national nonprofit, Center for the Living City.

The Center for the Living City was founded 15 years ago by friends of urban journalist and community activist Jane Jacobs who grew up in Dunmore.

Daughter of Michaelene and the late Francis Pane, MacDonald is a lifelong Dunmore resident and very proud of her roots in the borough.

“I see a lot of great architecture in Dunmore,” she said. “We have some great buildings and homes. But it is the community of Dunmore and the people in it who stand apart. All of the great things that are said about Dunmore and its citizens are true. This a borough I grew up in and never left.” 

MacDonald, who grew up in the same block in Dunmore as Jacobs, will become only the second director for the Center for the Living City organization. 

She replaces the center’s founding executive director, Stephen Goldsmith, who is stepping aside to focus his time on advancing the Center’s global Observation and Action Network. Goldsmith will remain on the center’s board of directors.

MacDonald is the founder of the Marywood University School of Architecture.

She continues to work as a practicing architect and specializes in adaptive reuse, preservation and restoration projects.

The Center for the Living City is a United States based nonprofit launched in 2005 by a group of activists, practitioners and teachers. It holds the distinction of being the only urbanist organization founded in collaboration with Jacobs.

The center’s governing board selected MacDonald from a strong field of more than 70 applicants.

Well versed and thought provoking, MacDonald received bachelor of arts degrees in both architecture and interior architecture from the University of Rhode Island School of Design, where she received the Excellence in Design award for her work on the “Reclamation of Forgotten Spaces.”

She utilizes a holistic, integrative design approach that aims to strengthen the relationships between the allied design disciplines and people and and the environments in which they live.

“I am thrilled to have been selected to work with the center’s board and staff to advance the mission,” MacDonald said. “This is an exciting time for Dunmore and Scranton and all of the universites and nonprofits.” 

MacDonald throughout her career has been team leader for many significant community projects. As an educator, her intense focus is on service and community outreach, providing community-based, experiential learning opportunities for her students and the people in the communities where they work.

She served for the past 15 years as Interior Architecture Program Director at Marywood University. She steered the program successfully through two full NASAD accreditations. 

“I am very proud to be a Dunmorean,” she said. “Jane Jacobs grew up on Monroe Avenue in Dunmore and I grew up and still live on Clay Avenue in Dunmore. She is an internationally known Urbanist and I am grateful to follow in her legacy.”

MacDonald has two sons. Her older son Neil MacDonald, 26, is a chemical engineer. Her younger son Ethan, 21, is a senior aerospace engineering major at the University of Maryland. Both are Scranton Prep graduates.

Her mom is a lifelong and proud Dunmore native. Her late dad died when she was young.

“We have a lot of great buildings in Dunmore,” MacDonald said. “that we can renovate and live in.

“We are now recognized both locally and on the international level. I think that is pretty great. We should be proud to maintain our identity. I am very proud to be a part of the Dunmore community my entire life.

“It is not a myth that we all know each other and you look out for your neighbors in Dunmore. We in Dunmore give back. There is a reason I never left Dunmore.”

The Marywood University School of Architecture is accredited with over 350 current enrolled students, MacDonald said.

MacDonald is a 1985 graduate of Dunmore High School.