Today’s youngsters have gotten used to seeing teachers writing with felt markers on whiteboards.

Violet Cecchini

Harry Funk / The Almanac

Violet Cecchini points to her name on Santa’s “nice” list.

Back when Bethel Park’s Schoolhouse Arts and History Center was, indeed, a schoolhouse, they had to get used to the sound of chalk scraping against blackboards.

And so to the children attending the center’s second annual Breakfast With Santa, seeing white writing on a black background may have been something of a novelty. But the message was one with which they’ve become familiar:

They made Santa Claus’ “nice” list, as opposed to “naughty.”

Each child at the Dec. 8 event arrived to see his or her name neatly etched onto a blackboard in a newly renovated classroom of the onetime Bethel High School. Part of the original construction in 1905, the room boasts expertly restored maple floorboards, something else that youngsters – their parents, too ¬– probably have not seen often.

Those in attendance had an opportunity to check out the continuing progress of work being done on the landmark building at Park Avenue and South Park Road, a project of the Bethel Park Historical Society that has gained substantial support from the community.

“They put their faith in us, and they can come in and see it is justified,” Bill Haberthur, a 1978 Bethel Park High School graduate who has spearheaded the renovation efforts, said.

For the second year in a row, Pittsburgh caterer Vic Fortunato provided the breakfast, with he and his wife, Cheryl, serving delicious fare to guests at the sold-out event. Also on hand, as in 2017, was Jim Modery with his HO-scale model railroad display.

There’s something else that the kids of 2018 don’t get to see every day.

Model railroad display

Harry Funk / The Almanac

Checking out the model railroad display set up at the Schoolhouse Arts and History Center are Mark Fortunato, Channing Yesionek, Christian Yesionek, Krista Yesionek.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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