The Center in the Circle
by Cate Murway

Samantha Marie Kasperitis, BHS ’09 shared her athleticism and skill in the center basketball position, constituting an unparalleled asset for the Warriors. Her primary role was to be an aggressive rebounder, scoring and defending from close to the basket, a necessary component for a successful team. Presently, injuries have prevented her from continuing her favorite sport, but the track & field team is very fortunate to have someone with Sam's caliber of athletic experience to shine in the shot and discus 2.135 meter circle.  She exemplifies all athletes who push themselves to turn to and master new events. She has displayed a great work ethic and she comes to practice to get things done!
Samantha volunteers and coaches for Recreation Director Mrs. Cynthia Mae [Cyndi] Wade’s 3rd –8th grade female athletes’ basketball team. She imparts her knowledge of the basic skills, the tactics of the game, and knowing when to use these skills and helps to developmentally create the “short shots” into “athletes in progress”. Sam is a never complacent role model for the concentration needed for actual play in a fast paced, emotional game. Per Cyndi, “Samantha works well with the kids and really keeps them organized.” 
Often times, it's hard to find an athlete not only talented and self-motivated but also willing to help.

Consistently accurate and decisive, Sam also kept her share of  'clean sheets' (shutouts) in soccer, positioning her body behind the ball and keeping it out of the goal circle area.
Mrs. Melissa Ann [Missy] Adamson, coach of the CYO soccer team, enthusiastically shared, “Samantha is a great player, dedicated to soccer and a great goalie! She’s a team player and I’m very proud of her.”

Bristol Borough is in her blood. Happy and contented, optimistic Samantha is the eldest of three children born to encouraging and caring Woods Services client care worker, Timothy, Pennsbury ’87 and Diane Theresa [Nelson] Kasperitis, Bishop Conwell ’81, previously providing her trained assistance in the Lower Bucks Hospital ER, who met at the Bristol Volunteer Fire Company #6. Her brother, Timothy Jacob, BHS ’10 is enrolled in the honors program and the youngest, Kasey McKenna, who demonstrates amazing vocal talents, is a seventh grader at the Center for Student Learning Charter School at Pennsbury.

Sam’s great-grandfather, Carl W. Nelson, Sr. was the original owner and operator of Carl W. Nelson, Builder. Her late grandfather, George W. Nelson, Sr., BHS ’38 [wife, Gertrude M. (Loughran) who resides with them] and her late great Uncle Carl W. Nelson, Jr. proudly built many homes in the Harriman section, as well as in other areas of Bucks County. Nelson Court in Harriman was named in their honor in recognition of their talents. Sam’s late paternal grandparents, Delhaas graduate Dawn [Lake] and USMA, West Point "The Long Gray Line" graduate Lawrence Oleksiak were Levittown residents.

Most of Sam’s family was educated at St. Mark School. Her home and family are a strong focus for her; perhaps the strongest focus of her life.

Samantha excelled in the math and reading programs at the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School and is continuing her exemplary academic progress at BHS, earning a 3.8 GPA.
For over a total of seven years, she studied and competed in dance and gymnastics for the Vanzant Dance Academy. Her primary areas of training have been tap, "Walking On Sunshine" [Sam is always ready to face the worst in the world with the best in herself], jazz and ballet.

She takes an active role in the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, a project of the Bristol Borough Community Partnership. The mission of the MYAC is to serve the common good of the community and provide a voice for youth in decisions and policies of Bristol Borough by organizing constructive community projects, strengthening relationships among youth, and between youth and adults, and providing positive activities involving youth.  
Sam, the self-proclaimed “rookie”, was a very verbal youth participant among the enthusiastic people who met in the conference room of the Grundy Library to get the grant application process started for the BBCP Drug Free Communities Support Program to tackle drug use in the town. Very little ever escapes her observation and deep understanding. 

“If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.”

Did you ever think of sending your support to a Marine in harm's way, but have no idea of what to send, who to send it to, or how to send it?  Samantha is currently pursuing this “Adopt a Marine” project with Borough veteran, Mr. Robert Barton Patrick. Per Bob, “Samantha happened in my life by luck which I consider to be very good luck. She is a driven young woman in the way she plays high school sports, her ability to consistently do well in school, her commitment to be a strong member of Mayor Saxton’s “MYAC” and much more. However the common thread that runs through all she does is the degree of passion she puts into her comPASSIONate efforts to make a difference in the world. Then on top of all of that she is really fun and a joy to be around!” 

“The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.”

Samantha and 17 other high school students were recommended by school counselors to participate in the two-week Rising Stars program at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. She learned about the possible obstacles, solutions and action steps she needs to take to reach a personal goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistically high and has a deadline.  Sam confided, “It was very early and it was hot” but, The Courier Times July 2007 article included her quote, "My self image has improved tremendously over the past week. Even my parents have said there is a difference. I’m more confident and more bold."  The time management skills have eased the stress needed to balance academics, basketball and track practice, volunteer work and time with family and friends during the school year.
Samantha is honored to have been selected to attend the fast-paced, dynamic 10-day LeadAmerica's 2008 Congressional Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University for an up-close, firsthand look at direction, preparing for a lifetime of leadership and the exciting challenges ahead. She will join other outstanding young leaders in discussing current issues and events that are facing our nation.
She is also a part of the BHS chorus, singing in the Bristol Lions Christmas production and enthusiastically participates in the “Shop with a Cop” charity event.

“The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.”

Samantha has chosen to be happy, deciding to be a beacon of optimism that will affect not only her own immediate environment but also other people with whom she comes into contact each day. Friendship, love, and affection are high on her list of priorities for a happy life and she generously shares her understanding and deep sympathetic attitude.

Her favorite program, when there is time, is FOX network’s “House” starring Hugh Laurie as the maverick medical genius Dr. Gregory House who is devoid of bedside manner and wouldn’t even converse with his patients if he could get away with it. She does appreciate this brilliant diagnostician’s unconventional approaches and is impressed with his rapid and accurate diagnoses [there IS a doctor in the “House”]. 
Samantha is contemplating a Nursing career focusing in pediatric critical care, a different kind of extraordinary high-level “save” for this goalie. College choices at this time,  include Muhlenberg College, Allentown, and West Chester and Temple Universities.

Her favorite BRT production was “The Bully Pulpit”, written and performed by Michael O. Smith. She thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s polished portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt as a robust and complicated figure with his tough public persona and touching family life. 
Yes, she did receive extra credit for attending the stage play! 

Her book of choice is Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World by Kent M. Keith, originally part of a booklet for student leaders. It is a manifesto of provocative and encouraging statements about doing good in a crazy, ungrateful world.

Her inspiration is Grandmom Nelson, who raised 7 children on her own and is still working, and it is her ham and cabbage concoction that is Sam’s favorite dinner choice. Her dad’s traditional grilled cheese “dippins” with tomato soup makes the perfect lunch. She enjoys an egg breakfast at the Radcliffe Café and nothing beats a chocolate gelato dessert at Cannoli Coffee bar & gelateria.

Samantha is known to be respectful and responsible.
Every intervention, every smile, every hug, every conversation makes a difference. 
Now, Samantha Marie Kasperitis is setting out to make a difference in the world!
Love at its best is unconditional.

[Italicized quotes from The Paradoxical Commandments]

To recommend a Bristol borough youth to be spotlighted: e-mail

Gertrude M. Nelson
Bucks County Courier Times
Gertrude M. (Loughran) Nelson of Bristol Borough passed away Sunday, June 13, 2010, at her daughter's home in Levittown. She was 86.

Born in Bristol Borough to the late James and Mary Ellen Loughran, she was a lifelong resident.

She was employed for the past several years at North Tech Industries, Bristol Township.

Mrs. Nelson was a life member of Bristol Fire Company 6 Auxiliary and ran the kitchen for 30 years.

She was very devoted to her family. Most of all, she enjoyed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was the wife of the late George W. Nelson. Gertrude is survived by three sons and two daughters-in-law, George W. Nelson Jr. and his wife, Madeline, of Lower Gwynedd, Pa., Albert Nelson and his wife, Janice, of Bristol and Joseph Nelson, also of Bristol; four daughters and four sons-in-law, Mary Ellen Daniel and her husband, Larry, of Levittown, Edna Padilla and her husband, Jose, of Springfield, Va., Diane Kasperitis and her husband, Timothy, of Bristol and Kathleen Trasatti and her husband, Robert, of Levittown; 19 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by one brother, Thomas Loughran and his wife, Patricia; and one sister, Betty Lienheiser; along with several nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Nelson was preceded in death by a brother, James Loughran; and three sisters, Delores Loughran, Anna Tamanini and Kathleen Rago.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend her funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Friday, June 18, at St. Mark Church, 1025 Radcliffe St., Bristol, PA 19007. Interment will be in St. Mark Cemetery. Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday and from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Friday at Wade Funeral Home, 1002 Radcliffe St., Bristol Borough.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Mark Church, at the above address. Wade Funeral Home,


June 15, 2010 3:21 AM

Rising Stars program
 Samantha Marie Kasperitis

Posted: Monday, March 9, 2015 4:24 pm  
Diane Teresa Nelson-Kasperitis passed away Friday, March 6, 2015, 
at Lower Bucks Hospital. She was 52.

Daughter of the late George and Gertrude (Loughran) Nelson, 
she was a lifelong Bristol resident. She was a graduate of 
Bishop Conwell High School, and prior to her illness, 
was a registration clerk at Lower Bucks Hospital.
Diane was a volunteer firefighter for Bristol Fire Co. Station 51 
and Bristol Volunteer Fire Co. No. 6. She was a devoted and loving 'Gigi' to her granddaughter.

She is survived by her husband, Timothy Kasperitis; her children, Samantha Kasperitis, Timothy Jacob Kasperitis, and Kasey Kasperitis; and one grandchild, Kennedy Grace. She also is survived by three brothers, George Nelson, Albert Nelson, and Joseph Nelson, and three sisters, Mary Daniels, Edna Padilla, and Kathy Trasatti; and several nieces and nephews; and great-nieces and great-nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Friday, March 13, in St. Mark Church. Interment will be in St. Mark Cemetery. Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, at Wade Funeral Home, 1002 Radcliffe St., Bristol Borough.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the family may be sent to 518 Pond St., Bristol, PA 19007.Wade Funeral Home,
Bristol Borough