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.” 

Meet Your New Miss Buck: Mariana Leo

Miss Buck 1

Photo courtesy of Rich Banick Photography ©

By Steve Svetovich

Mariana Leo envisions herself as making a difference in the lives of children.

But in the meantime she looks forward to her senior year at Dunmore High School when she represents her school as Miss Buck.

Daughter of Mario and Lisa Leo, Dunmore, Mariana, 17, said she is honored to be selected as Miss Buck. 

“I was very excited, but a little nervous when I heard the news,” she said. “I can’t wait to represent my school. I really want to be involved in a lot of activities this year.”

Mariana said she would like to study Education and become a middle school teacher. She would like to study at West Chester University or Philadelphia University. 

“My goal is to become a middle school teacher and make an impact on as many children’s lives as possible. I want to be able to help a child day to day. I want to help teach a child they can do anything.”

Mariana is an honor student at Dunmore High School. She has a 91 academic average and is a member of the French Club. Her favorite academic subject is English. 

Mariana likes to ski and travel. She played three years for the Dunmore volleyball team and was a basketball cheerleader for two years.

Humble in nature, Mariana spends a good deal of her spare time doing volunteer work. She volunteers for the NEPA Youth Shelter Program, a homeless shelter for local teens.

Mariana also does volunteer work for Tomorrow Leaders of Today (TLT).

She keeps herself even busier by working at Montage Mountain and the Dunmore Community Center. She is spending her summer working for the borough of Dunmore as a camp counselor at Sherwood Park. 

Miss Buck 2

Photo courtesy of Rich Banick Photography ©

Very polite and soft spoken, Mariana said her parents are always in her corner.

“They taught me to always work hard and be on time. They tell me to stay committed to what I choose to do. They tell me I can achieve my dreams. They always support my dreams and career path.”

Mariana said she enjoys music and would like to see Ariana Grande in concert. She talked about her goals for the upcoming school year as Miss Buck.

“I want to be able to impact a lot of children. I want to be a good example and represent Dunmore High School and the community well.”

Mariana is exuberant when she speaks of her experience at Dunmore High School.

“It is a great experience. I am learning so much. I am really sad this is my last year. There have been a lot of memories and moments and I want to be part of more of them. Everyone is so friendly here. I love it.” 

Meet Miss Buck: Kayleigh Carey

Miss Buck (1)

Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography

By Maureen Hart

Kayleigh Carey, a 17-year-old senior at Dunmore High School, says there is nothing like standing at the 50-yard line of the season-opening football game to perform for the first time as Miss Buck.

“You’re standing there alone, adrenaline flowing, and it’s nerve-wracking,” she recalls.

“But it’s also such a fantastic moment. It’s a big honor to be Miss Buck at Dunmore High School. All little girls look up to her.”

Kayleigh, who was chosen for the honor during tryouts last March 16, started twirling lessons with Sherry Nicolais at the age of two, and has always dreamed of being Miss Buck.

“When I was a little girl, I always looked up to the current Miss Buck as a role model,” she confesses. “And now I am honored to be that role model for other little girls.”

The daughter of Lori and Tom Carey of Butler Street, Dunmore, Kayleigh also had another role model growing up when her older sister, Alicia, served as Miss Buck during the 2010-2011 season.

Alicia, now 25, went on to graduate from Temple University, and is employed as an event planner at Constantino’s Catering.

“I always looked up to Alicia, and I wanted to be as good a twirler as she was,” Kayleigh says.

Miss Buck on field

Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography

Kayleigh and Alicia have another sister, Kelliann, 20, a student at Penn State Worthington. Both of them also work for Constantino’s, which has become something of a family tradition.

Although it takes a lot of training and practice to become an outstanding twirler, Kayleigh has many other things on her plate.

She serves as co-captain of the varsity basketball cheerleaders and as an officer of the TACT Club (Teens Against Corporate Tobacco) and of the Health Careers Club. A member of the National Honor Society, she is also active with the SADD Club, Spanish Club, and Earth Club.

“I love Dunmore High School,” she notes. “It is a great place to grow up and make friends. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

She is also an altar server as SS. Anthony and Rocco Church and over the summer she served as a camp counselor at St. Anthony’s Park.

Kayleigh received her twirling routine in January and worked hard to perfect it for the March tryouts,–which are held in front of the entire student body, who then get to vote on their choice. The school principal then counts the votes and announces the winner.

“When my name was called out, I was just overwhelmed and so excited,” she remembers. “It was good to know that working on something for such a long time paid off in the end, and I’m really proud it became a reality.”

Kayleigh’s favorite school subject is math, and she has taken a CAB class during which she drew up floor plans. This class spurred her interest in architecture as a  potential career, so over the summer she shadowed architect Laura Gillette Mills, who is with Hemmler Camayd Architecture in Scranton.

“I found I really like architecture and I hope to major in it at Temple,” she explains. She says she fell in love with Temple when her sister Alicia was a student there.

Kayleigh says her parents are very proud of her achievements. And she admits that she would want any future daughter of hers to pursue the same dream of working hard in order to be chosen Miss Buck.