Performing with Pezza Pride
by Cate Murway
Historic Bristol on the Delaware is quaint and unhurried; much less hectic than neighboring towns and boasts a distinct charm all its own!
The remarkable history, the picturesque scenery, the restaurants that overlook water are all wonderful but it’s the people who make it special.
Gregory [meaning “on the watch”] Thomas Pezza, BHS ’96 is the youngest of the three children born to cheerleader Karen Lee [Fannin], Bishop Egan ’65 and author William Michael [Bill] Pezza, Sr., BHS ’65. His father met his mother, the “best looking girl on the [paper] route”, while delivering the Bucks County Courier Times to the family of the late Dr. Thomas Sheldon II and Leona [Higgins] Fannin, Radcliffe & Washington Street residents.
The importance of family has the utmost time-honored respect in the Pezza family’s Pond Street home, full of generational pictures, considerable creative and artistic talents, certificates of amazing accomplishments and, of course, Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia.
Greg patterns his life on the values of cooperation, adaptability, partnering and consideration of others.
Greg’s father recently retired as Teacher/ Administrator, Social Studies Curriculum Supervisor at Lower Moreland High School and continues teaching American History at Bucks County Community College.
His mother retired after 25 years as teacher and 6 years as Principal of St. Mark School.
It seemed to be that everyone in his family was always in school, either as a student or a teacher, so to blaze his own trail, he “teetered on the brink of law school”.
His Bristol High senior quote seemingly set that decision in stone.
“He did it. You know he did it. I know he did it. Everybody knows he did it,” from Christopher Allen Darden, lawyer, writer, lecturer and practicing attorney, a veteran of the Los Angeles County District Attorney, where he was assigned to the prosecution of O.J. Simpson.
Greg played CYO and high school basketball and softball, and ran cross-country but “basketball was pretty much my sport”. He ran with the other eight basketball players who chose to run cross-country primarily for conditioning but it is now a life athletic endeavor as he maintains his physical fitness.
He also learned to make his voice heard and was introduced to the judicial process while he participated in the BHS Mock Trial law-related education program.
“I am proud of my Bristol career. I was editor of the yearbook and class president”.
Music was always a big factor. His grandparents lived with them and his grandfather’s piano was on the main floor. Dr. Fannin, “an improv jazz/blues player” was “a tremendous piano player and I idolized him. He was my mentor.”
Although Greg’s parents were prepared to provide piano lessons, his sister, Leighann didn’t really care for it too much and his brother, Bill, Jr., had shown no interest at all.
It was up to Greg to carry on the melodies. Coincidentally, he shared a birth date with musician, Lionel Hampton, one of the last big band leaders from the Swing Era, considered one of the legends of jazz music.
“My grandfather always wore a bowtie and a bowler cap and they remain on the baby grand piano; sort of as a tribute to him.”
Greg played keyboard in the BHS jazz band and still plays the piano to this day.
“The night my grandfather passed away, I played the song I had just learned for him and he was very happy about that.”
Greg continued his education at Penn State University and further, earning his Masters Degree from Temple University and his Masters in Educational Administration from Gwynedd Mercy College. He was the VP of the PSU Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and he took his education very seriously and responsibly.
Greg was one of the 14 student organizers for the PSU Dance Marathon, out of the tens of thousands who participate. It is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. He proudly shared that in his senior year they crossed the $3 million dollar threshold for the funds raised for pediatric cancer. The legendary football coach, Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno has even said that the “THON” is one of the best things that Penn State does.
He is an avid runner with strong endurance
and fairly quick feet.
He participated in the Mill Street Run,
the 2010 Blue Cross Broad Street Run
with an inspiring 9:37 mile pace,
finishing in 1:36:16 and then
he completed the ING Rock 'n' Roll
Philadelphia Half Marathon 2010 in 1:58:19.
The family genes won this particular race even though he had resisted it for a while.
It was back to school for the youngest Pezza.
Teacher Greg Pezza is passionate about facilitating and celebrating student success as he currently teaches History for 3 periods and runs the Gifted Program for the remainder of the day at Lower Moreland High School.
“This was a correct career decision.”
He avidly assists his students to acquire the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary to not only become life-long learners, but citizens who will think critically, act responsibly, communicate clearly and collaborate effectively in a global community.
Greg is also an adjunct Political Science professor, “State and Local Government” and “National Government”, at the BCCC Newtown campus.
Pacing with Pezza has been no easy feat.
In 2007, his fifth year working in the Lower Moreland district, he was teaching American Studies and AP American history, was the Student Council Adviser, the J.V. basketball coach, the Academic Decathlon coach, and the co-advisor for the new LM news studio. He “loved the extra-curricular activities”, however, his passion is clearly in history, politics, and helping students to explore different ways of viewing Social Studies.
He manifests his responsibility to engender a sense of citizenship that recognizes the needs of others. He leads by example, demonstrating a model productive and contributing component of society as a member of the Bristol Borough Zoning Board as well as being an effective budget watchdog.
Greg, born and raised in Bristol Borough; he resided in Manayunk for a few years after college and now has purchased his own home on Wilson Avenue, is determined to run for East Ward Councilman with a goal to cultivate relationships of mutual respect.
He pledges to protect the constituents’ interests in a positive, professional manner. His goal is profound diplomacy in handling complicated situations. He feels “it’s time to say no to the politics of no, and yes to constructive debate, leadership and problem solving.”
His modesty apparently runs deep as he expresses a commitment to work comfortably without recognition of his own accomplishments.
“I will continue to run a positive and high energy campaign.”
To demonstrate his town interest in an independent and effective manner and individualize excellence, his plan is to organize the “CCC”, Concerned Citizens Committee. There can be communication and representation, a valuable means for many Borough taxpayers to voice their opinions and directly effect change in their community. “I will find out what they are thinking and bring that back to Borough Council.”
The Borough Council is the governing body as well as a forum for debate, discussion and action on community concerns.
He stated, “Directionally and geographically the Borough has everything going for it and it can succeed with a good government crusade.
Farragut Avenue seems to be the forgotten business district with no focus in it. It needs plans and structure. Mill Street can still be the town center but a consortium of business owners can tie it together, to come together to be identified as a business distict.
Bristol is a riverfront town with a downtown that could be more than charming and, most importantly, is filled with great people. There is no reason we cannot be the crown jewel of Bucks County, the envy of Bucks.”
You can make a difference!
The future is in your hands. Please make your voice heard so the Council can work proactively on behalf of the entire Borough Community.
This “Thursday’s child has far to go” and Greg is well prepared to compete in every race with the Pezza pride.
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