Thomas Jefferson’s Fiedor honored for impact on, off the volleyball court

Friday, June 21, 2019 | 5:14 PM

Julia Fiedor, a 2019 Thomas Jefferson graduate, embodies the definition of a positive athlete.

On June 17, Fiedor, representing girls volleyball, was the recipient of the Positive High School Athlete Award.

The Sen. John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum hosted the eighth annual awards ceremony. Student-athletes representing 31 boys and girls sports from high schools throughout Western Pennsylvania, along with two coaches and North Allegheny, were recognized and celebrated by former Pittsburgh Steelers player Hines Ward.

TJ guidance counselor Erin Yeager nominated Fieder for the prestigious honor.

“I was ecstatic to win the award,” said the 18-year-old Fiedor. “I did know I was nominated, but it still was a wonderful surprise for me to win.”

Each athlete was to show, in addition to on-field success, Positive Athlete characteristics such as an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, a heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent at all times and putting the team before individual goals.

“There is no girl more deserving of this award than Julia,” said Ron Kelly, coach of the TJ girls volleyball team. “Every word out of her mouth while she was on the court, the bench or at practice was positive, encouraging or said with excitement.

“The biggest compliment I get as a coach is when teachers comment on your players. Julia was that player — an excellent student, always has a smile and a tutor to the younger players on the team. I was so glad to hear she won this award.”

Fiedor also was selected as the winner of the Positive Solutions Award and a $1,000 scholarship donated by the Wilson family.

This award is presented each year to a student-athlete who has helped others on their team, and in their school and/or community create a positive solution to a difficult situation.

“I had no idea that I would be receiving it,” Fiedor said, “and yes, it was a surprise at the ceremony.”

The award winners were recognized June 18 at the Pirates-Tigers game at PNC Park.

Fiedor wrapped up her athletic career at TJ as a three-year varsity letter winner in volleyball, competing as a 5-foot-3 server/defensive specialist.

The Jaguars won three section titles during that span.

“My athletic career at TJ was an incredible experience,” Fiedor said. “I felt supported by the entire community, my coaches and teammates, as well. Playing volleyball was one of my favorite experiences at TJ, and I could not have asked for anything more from the program.”

Last fall, TJ finished as a WPIAL runner-up and qualified for the PIAA playoffs.

The starting lineup in the WPIAL finals consisted of three seniors: Fiedor, libero Sydney Moran and defensive specialist Julia Micklo; five juniors: MH Natasha Yanief, MH Tyler Turk, OH Tanner Patrick, OH Ashleigh Haines and setter Abby Chalovich; and one sophomore: right-side hitter Lillian Rockwell.

“Julia worked hard daily to make herself the best she could be,” Kelly said. “She was a regular in our lineup as a defensive specialist. She worked so hard to develop a serve that could score points for us. She had an outstanding float serve that she was able to place where she wanted.

“She also excelled defensively and when she entered the game always provided a spark. At practice, she was my second setter. When we split our players, having someone of her ability made for some of those great games. She will be missed.”

Fiedor was National Honor Society and class president, Interact Club vice president, and participated in the high school musicals. Her most recent GPA was 4.397.

“I also was part of an organization called Pittsburgh Cares,” she said. “It is a group of about 15 high school students from across Pittsburgh who meet twice a month to discuss social issues, then try to improve these problems through volunteering.

“During high school, I balanced my activities with a great support system — my family and friends are wonderful — hard work and determination. I genuinely enjoyed everything I was participating in so it kept me motivated.”

Fiedor plans to attend Penn, where she is considering pursuing a pre-med track.

“I liked Penn because it is a highly academic school with great history in a city, but it still maintains a campus feel,” Fiedor said. “I felt like I would constantly be learning in and out of the classroom, which is very important to me.”

Positive Pittsburgh officials said approximately 1,000 nominations were received from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents.


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