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Pleasant Valley grad earns Mario Scavello Award

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    Jacob Behling overcame social anxiety to win the Mario Scavello Award for his grades, attendance and volunteer work at the West End Food Pantry. LEVI JIORLE/TIMES NEWS

Published June 26. 2019 01:06PM


Sometimes the quietest people have the loudest actions. That is the case with recent Pleasant Valley graduate Jacob Behling, who won the Mario Scavello Award for his good grades, attendance and also helping at the West End Food Pantry in Kunkletown. Behling said working with the pantry has changed him for the better.

“I had extreme social anxiety before I started. I was very non-talkative. I didn’t talk or look at anybody. And then, once I started coming here, I actually started helping out a lot more,” Behling said.

Behling was surprised to find out he’s receiving the Mario Scavello Award. This was due to his modest view of his community-focused actions.

“I didn’t think I did anything that impressive for my senior year and all throughout high school. So, to me, I’m just really happy because I got acknowledged for my hard work,” Behling said.

Behling has aspirations to go to Full Sail University in Florida for computer animation. His dream would be to work for Pixar to make animated movies.

While Behling’s mother, Heidi Gearhart, is proud of him for winning the Mario Scavello Award, she takes the most pride in his involvement within the community, and for also being a good person.

“I’m proud that be broke out of his shell and became a completely different person. He does wonderful things,” Gearhart said.

Carey Krum, the building manager, said that Behling goes above and beyond with his work for the pantry. He said that he does more than he needs to, and never seeks attention for the work involved with serving the community.

Karena Thek, director of the West End Food Pantry, also had great things to say about Behling.

“J.J. is an amazing kid. I’ve watched him grow from a quiet kid that had a very hard time being at the pantry to holding a high-paced position, greeting clients, opening doors and practically making the pantry his extended family,” Thek said.


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