Semicek, Joraskie and Perles earn special awards from Ed Romance Hall of Fame
(Editor's Note: The Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction ceremonies during a banquet, today at 2 p.m. at the Brady Fire Co. banquet hall. This is the last in a series of honoree biographies leading up to the event.)
SPECIAL ACIEVEMENT PAUL SEMICEK
Nearly 55 years after he began an era in local music that remains unmatched today, Paul Semicek is still earning accolades for his inspiration and dedication to making music relevant to so many local students. Today's recognition comes from a very unlikely source - the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He is being recognized for bringing so much attention to the Mount Carmel Area School District and this section of Pennsylvania.
A native of Mount Carmel, Semicek's career began at age 13 playing the trumpet in bands and orchestras. His tremendous talent earned him a scholarship to Susquehanna University.
He was drafted into the army, where he spent two years touring Europe with the U.S. Army 3rd Armored Division Band.
After his military service and graduation from Susquehanna, Semicek began teaching at Mount Carmel High School in 1958. Bringing the drum corps style to his marching band, Semicek changed the name of the band to the Mounties. In 1964, the Mounties became the first American band to play at a Canadian Football League game.
In 1963 Semick began the "Festival of Stars" drum corps show. It attracted top drum corps to the area and brought along a host of famous musical guests to perform with the Mounties. They included Gene Krupa, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, Tonight Show band leader Carl "Doc" Severinsen, Tommy Newsome, Ed Shaughnessey, and others including Miss America and Miss Pennsylvania.
In 1976, Semicek moved on to Danville, where the festival continued. Combined, both bands appeared at over 110 NFL games, the Preakness in Maryland, and at the final career game of international soccer star, Pele and the Chicago Bears' Brian Piccolo. His bands also made appearances at Major League Baseball games, including the Phillies, Pirates, Yankees and Orioles.
For all of his accomplishments, in 2011, he was honored with his induction into the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Associates Hall of Fame. Some have estimated that, in his career, Semicek's bands performed for more than one million spectators. Ed Romance, the founder of the local hall of fame once said, "Paul Semicek is an outstanding individual, a person who excels in creating musical extravaganzas with young people. He is a man with dedication and desire that matches or exceeds the best of the sports coaches in the entire region."
Semicek continues to write and arrange music from his home in Kulpmont. He is the father of three daughters; Lynne Zsido, Leslie Savage and Lisa Jaschick.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT ERIC JORASKIE
Eric Joraskie has certainly done more than his share in bringing recognition to the Mount Carmel Area School District and community. Joraskie recently became the 42nd player in MCA history to be named First Team All-State. He also becomes only the seventh player in history to be a two-time First Team All-State selection.
Joraskie first saw playing time for Mount Carmel as a sophomore for Coach Carmen DeFrancesco as a defensive tackle and dominated the position for the next three years. He amassed a total of 184 tackles, including 59 for a loss during his career. He was also credited with 18 sacks for 124 yards lost, placing him seventh on the all-time list. Joraskie also registered 30 quarterback hurries.
Joraskie also showed his versatility this past season as he also lined up at tight end and fullback for the Red Tornadoes. He helped his team into the District 4 playoffs in all three of his seasons, winning the gold medal in 2011 and the silver in 2012.
Joraskie was also named the Joe Grey Award winner as the "Outstanding Lineman" for the Tornadoes in each of his three seasons. He was also named the Chapter's Athlete of the Month for August. He was selected to the Pennsylvania Big 33 team and will play in the game in June, 2013. After weighing a number of Division I offers from schools such as Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Maryland, Joraskie signed a letter of intent to attend and play for the Northwestern University Wildcats.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT CHRISTINA PERLES
Christina Perles will become the 10th name on the list of female Tornadoes' basketball players who have surpassed the 1000-point plateau. Her journey to the mark was different than most after playing her first three seasons for the Lourdes Regional Red Raiders. While there, Perles totaled 979 points in helping the Red Raiders to three consecutive District 4 Single A championships.
Before the start of the 2012 school year, Perles transferred to Mount Carmel Area where she surpassed the 1000-point mark in her first game for the Tornadoes, scoring 22 points in Mount Carmel's 65-40 victory over Sunbury Christian. She led the Tornadoes in scoring during the 2012-13 season on the way to a 19-3 regular season record. The girls also won their third consecutive Heartland Division II Championship. Perles' 21-point game led the Tornadoes to a 66-43 victory over Southern Columbia for its third consecutive district title.
Perles averaged more than 17 points per game and is shooting close to 80 percent from the foul line. Her career total of more than 1,400 points ranks fifth on the all-time Mount Carmel list.
Her play on the court led her to being named the Chapter's Athlete of the Month for December. Perles received the Black Diamond Discovery Award as a freshman.
Perles is a daughter of Deb and Rick Perles of Kulpmont and is planning to continue her playing career at a four-year college.