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Kurt R. Weiss Wish Kid Scholarship Reception with Pirates Charities

  • A special thank you to the Pirates Charities for making this great event possible. In the picture Dr. Kurt Weiss, Make-A-Wish President and CEO Judith Stone, Development Coordinator Melissa Slogan, a representative from the Pirates Charities and Stella! the Star.

  • Make-A-Wish at PNC Park.

  • All of the Kurt R. Weiss scholarship recipients out on the field.

  • Scholarship recipients and their families inside PNC Park.

  • Wish kid and Honorable Mention Recipient Shelby Vickers hanging out with Stella! outside of PNC Park.

  • A photo of our Honorable Mention Recipients. Front row: Morgan Akers, Gwen Soergel, Shelby Vickers, Draven Heim, Julia Reitler, Rachel Hutchsion, Savannah Patterson, Alison Pollock. Second row: Ezra Taimuty-Loomis, Anthony Waddell, Dr. Kurt Weiss, Sydnee Bunnell, Jared Burk, Maura Clarke, Lance Frye, Aria Markijohn and Melissa Slogan, Make-A-Wish Development Coordinator. Last row: Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Garette Behanna, Levi Baker, Joe Black, Jillian McCloskey, Alexandra Wymer and Judith Stone, Make-A-Wish President and CEO.

  • A photo of our Highest Honor Recipients. Front row: Ryleah Woodward, Michael Yerina, Nicole Williams, Larisa Schock, Mitchell Gordish and Kevin Wright. Back row:Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Development Coordinator Melissa Slogan, President and CEO Judith Stone, Dr. Kurt Weiss and Joe Block.

  • Wish kid and Mylan Best Essay Award winner Jillian McCloskey takes the podium at the ceremony.

  • Wish kid and Highest Honor Recipient Mitchell Gordish shares his story.

  • Wish kid and High Honor Recipient Justin Senko speaking at the reception about how a wish impacted his life.

  • Wish kid and High Honor Recipient Madison Koloski talks about her wish experience.

  • Make-A-Wish Development Coordinator Melissa Slogan shares a hug with Dr. Kurt Weiss.

  • Make-A-Wish President and CEO Judith Stone meets the recent graduates at the ceremony.

  • Wish kid and Honorable Mention Recipient Morgan Akers meets Pirates President Frank Coonelly.

In 2016, Pirates Charities partnered once again with Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia to support the annual Kurt R. Weiss Scholarship for Wish Kids program.  

There were a total of 63 Weiss Scholarship recipients in 2016.  Wish kids were invited to a ceremony in the Pirates Press Conference room, followed by a buffet dinner at Picnic Park, an on-field presentation and the game against the New York Mets.

The Kurt R. Weiss Scholarship for Wish Kids was developed in 1998. The scholarship is offered to any wish kid who is a senior in high school and intends to pursue post-secondary education. The scholarship is named in honor of Kurt R. Weiss, a wish kid who is an inspiration to all who meet him. To date, more than 1,038 wish kids have received some monetary gift through this scholarship to help them with education expenses.  

While a freshman in high school, Kurt was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma. His wish was to march with the Notre Dame Marching Band. In 1990, just months after the diagnosis, Kurt’s wish was fulfilled. He traveled to Miami, FL, and played his tenor saxophone with the Notre Dame Marching Band at the Orange Bowl. Kurt went on to attend the University of Notre Dame and was president of the marching band. In medical school, Kurt studied orthopaedic oncology, and he finished a fellowship at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto. He is married and has two children and is now back in Pittsburgh, working in the Orthopaedic Department at UPMC. In 2014, he was recognized as one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 Under 40.”

Many thanks to all of our generous scholarship donors, especially Pirates Charities. Your donation will help make the college dreams of our wish kids come true!

Our Lead Scholarship Donors: 
Pirates Charities
Jack Buncher Foundation
Peters Township High School National Honor Society and Student Council

Our Supporting Scholarship Donors:
Gretchen and Jeff Jezerc
Pam and Al Vernacchio
Joanne and Frank Weiss
Liz and Eric Weiss
Michael R. Wollman, M.D., and Barbara Wollman

*Photos from the Kurt R. Weiss Scholarship Reception, courtesy of Joseph Guzy and Dave Arrigo.

Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Inc.
The Gulf Tower
707 Grant Street, 37th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1938
(412) 471-9474
Toll Free (800) 676-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Southern West Virginia Office
888 Oakwood Centre
Suite 330
Charleston, WV 25314
(304) 342-9474
Toll Free (800) 664-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Office
913 Canyon Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
(304) 292-5600
Toll Free (888) 808-9474