Keystone Oaks School District graduates Ian Cummins and Darlene Averell Lovasik are the first recipients of the District’s Alumni Achievement Award. Cummins is a member of the Keystone Oaks High School Class of 2009, and Lovasik is a member of the Keystone Oaks High School Class of 1973.
These individuals were recognized during Homecoming on Oct. 9.
“Ms. Lovasik and Mr. Cummins bring a lot of pride to the Keystone Oaks School District and the community through their professional and personal accomplishments,” said Dr. William Stropkaj, Keystone Oaks Superintendent. “Both individuals have done – and continue to do – tremendous work in the nursing and health care industries. We are proud to recognize these two individuals as the first recipients of the Alumni Achievement Award.”
After a family tragedy two years ago, Cummins set out on a journey to raise awareness of mental illness and to raise money for the proper treatment of the mentally ill. Last year, he walked from Virginia Beach to San Francisco to show those with mental illness that they are not alone. During his nearly six month journey, Cummins connected with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and, since then, has helped raise $10,000 for the organization; he currently is the youngest serving member on NAMI’s Southwestern PA Board of Directors.
Cummins has been inducted in the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, recognized as a WESA-FM 90.5 Pittsburgh “People Making a Difference” honoree and is a recipient of the Staunton Farm Foundation’s Craig Award for Innovation in Behavioral Health. He is also a volunteer for the Ten-o-Eight Club, which helps raise awareness and funds for nonprofit organizations that work to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness. Cummins currently works as a nurse at Mercy Hospital’s Emergency Referral Center. He received a nursing degree from California University of Pennsylvania.
Lovasik has made a difference in the lives of thousands through her nursing career. She began working in Presbyterian-University Hospital as a staff nurse in the Neurosurgical Unit in 1977 and is now the Transplant/Surgery Program Nurse Specialist at UPMC Presbyterian hospital. During her 38 year career, she has been responsible for overseeing nursing personnel and patient care, coordinating the education of specialty and critical care nurses, working with physicians to ensure quality patient care in the intensive care units and for designing, facilitating, monitoring, and evaluating the standards for the transplant/surgery program at UPMC Presbyterian.
Lovasik has received numerous honors, including the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses 2015 Circle of Excellence Award and the 2009 Cameo of Caring Award (Advanced Practice Nurse). She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, International Transplant Nursing Society, Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, and the nursing alumni groups at both Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her Masters of Nursing with a Clinical Specialty in Neuroscience Nursing. She has delivered more than 130 presentations at various medical conferences and seminars across the United States and abroad.
The Keystone Oaks Board of School Directors approved the Alumni Achievement Award in May. To qualify, nominees must be alumni of Keystone Oaks High School or the former Dormont High School who have graduated at least 10 years ago. Additionally, the committee may select one individual each year who has graduated in the past decade and has met the other requirements. Alumni Achievement Award nominations will be evaluated based upon extraordinary achievement in academia and/or the arts; professional accomplishments; and/or service to the Keystone Oaks community.