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Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: Third Place (Website)

PVEC 1,000-point board missing names from Villa’s past


It’s a well known fact within the Erie community that Villa Maria Academy has become exclusively an all girls school. It is easy to forget, however, that Villa not long ago was co-ed.  The school’s history has been a changing dynamic of both co-ed and exclusively girls, but now the school seems to have finally committed to being an all girls institution. Although the school today is officially all female, it is important not to forget that accolades and achievements that the male students and student-athletes accomplished in their years at Villa while the school was still co-ed.
Before the merger with Cathedral Prep during the 2009-2010 school year, Villa still had a small number of boys who attended their school. After the two schools joined together, the boys who were attending the school were allowed to finish their high school careers Villa. Following their graduation, the school enrolled only young women, and the school has thrived under that format, while Cathedral Prep has remained an all boys school.
Ever since Prep and Villa merged, the two campuses have begun sharing a number of different aspects of their respective schools and traditions. It started out with sharing small things such as buses, but has evolved to the point where the name of the Cathedral Prep Events Center was renamed to become the Prep and Villa Events Center (PVEC). It seems as though the two schools have become closer than ever the past couple of years.
Recently, Villa unveiled their one thousand points scorers board in the Joann Mullen Gymnasium at the PVEC. The board includes some of their big name players, including the likes of Kayla McBride and Maria DeVecchio. The board, however, is clearly missing a number of players who attended Villa and also topped the thousand points mark. The Villa boys’ names are missing.
Yes, the male players that went to Villa before it became an all girls institution were all but forgotten when the list was created. This list includes the likes of Tony McLauren (1996) with 1,271 points, William Pituch (2001) with 1,385 points, and Kevin Buczynski (2004) with 1,616 points. At any level of high school basketball a 1,000-point career is impressive. The players who have reached this milestone should be able to go to PVEC and show their families what they accomplished.
One of Villa’s male standout athletes, Kevin Buczynski, has quite the impressive resume deserving of recognition. He is the all-time blocks leader at Villa and also set the record for number of blocks in a game with 16. He also recorded two triple doubles, was named two-time second team All-State, and is the all-time leading male scorer at Villa. “I guess I really don’t understand why the Villa males were not on the all-time scoring board hanging up in the PVEC,” Buczynski said. “I worked hard on the basketball court, in the classroom, and serving my country [in the United States Air Force]. The records and recognition show that. I think I speak for all the Villa guys in saying, why were we left off the board?”
Mr. Bill Flanagan, athletic director for Prep and Villa, said, “When the 1,000-point board was originally constructed, we placed the names of just the Villa girls on that board. There is no disrespect intended to anyone. We have room to make additions to the board and will evaluate that moving forward.”
Villa had no intent on leaving the boys off the list, but the school still should reevaluate their decision and correct the oversight so that the players are acknowledged for their hard work. Current Villa senior, Annmarie Coppola, commented, “I don’t see the problem with putting the boys who scored 1,000 points [on the board]. I think they deserve to be recognized for their accomplishment.” These distinguished players, as well as all the other boys who participated in sports at Villa, deserve to be recognized for their feats, even if the school has moved on to a different era.

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  • N

    Nate GerlachMar 16, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I was captain of the boys team in 2008. The same team that got off to the best record in school history. Others, as well as I who were city all-stars deserve some credit. I suffered 4 concussions and various other injuries as well have other players. I have permanent brain damage from these concussions. Reading this makes me so sick. We busted are tails we all deserve respect.

  • F

    Ford EisenmanMar 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Great article, Joe. Cory Chaffee should also be recognized – as he scored over 1300 points at Villa and helped lead Villa to the Western Semifinals as a senior.
    Speaking of Cory Chaffee, did you know that in 2006 he was on the only baseball team in Erie history to EVER make it to a state championship? If you didn’t, its probably because that State Runner up trophy and any other male athletic achievement is sitting in the basement of Villa collecting dust; which is a perfect spot for the awards in Prep/Villa’s eyes.
    As a Villa male alumni, Its almost comical that Prep/Villa has the nerve to take down all state and record breaking feats by male alumni, yet still find it necessary to send alumni collection checks. I’m not holding my breath on them taking the male alumni off of that mailing list though.
    You will be hard pressed to find a Villa male alumni who has any connection with their alma mater. Since Prep and Villa have merged, the two have done their best to erase the male era from the history books.

  • T

    Tom SchumacherMar 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    In response to John Vahey’s post regarding the Events Center, you are right about the flag pole in the David M. Hallman III Aquatics Center… but that is just temporary so that competitive events could be held. A scoreboard size flag is on-site and will be hung between a set of windows on the wall, in addition to a life size crucifix (similar to the one in Mullen Gymnasium). Once both items are ready for installation, they will go up at the same time… which only makes sense since a lift will have to be brought in for the installation job. Both the crucifix, US flag and a record board should all be mounted on the walls of the aquatics center by this summer!

  • T

    Tammie GabbardMar 16, 2016 at 12:07 pm


    • K

      Kristen ChaffeeMar 16, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Yeah! Come on, Villa-recognize ALL your victors!

  • J

    John Vahey Class 1963Mar 11, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    I was at the PVEC for the first time, for the Diocesan swim meet. My Granddaughter, Mikaela Vahey swims for Blessed Sacrament School. WOW what a complex. Everything is first class, except the American Flag. When the National Anthem was played at the start of the swim meet, you had to search for the flag. Turns out it’s just a little flag on a floor pole. Come on I think there’s enough room next to the digital time clock, for a 10’x20′ hanging flag. Our Anthem deserves this. Thank You John Vahey 63