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Catching Up With ...
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-05-27

Amy Gryshuk

            Amy Gryshuk enrolled in Saint Francis University focused on competing in

Amy Gryshuk

track and field. She graduated from the central Pennsylvania school with different priorities. Rather than compete in her conference championship meet, she chose to participate in commencement.

            "At that point, I knew I was going to go to graduate school," said Gryshuk, a 1996 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School.

            Though she chose academics over athletics, Gryshuk says the long hours of competing at Division I taught her a valuable lesson about balancing work and life. The East Greenville native, who earned her Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology and cancer therapeutics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, currently oversees strategic engagements and partnerships at a research lab in the northern California Bay area.

            "I love what I'm doing," said Gryshuk, who lives in Livermore, 45 minutes north of San Francisco. "Working with researchers is intellectually stimulating."

            In high school, Gryshuk described herself as very competitive. She ran track and played field hockey, and considered competing in both sports in college. However, she chose to focus on track and field.

            As a junior for the Tribe, she won a medal at the PIAA Class 3A championships by finishing sixth in the long jump. On the track, Gryshuk also competed in multiple sprints, the hurdles and at least one relay. She expressed an appreciation for the coaching staff's focus on form.

            "I have a lot of fond memories," Gryshuk said. "I really enjoyed the sport. The lessons I learned, such as sportsmanship and teamwork, helped carry me through life."

At St. Francis, in Loretto, PA, training for the track and field team reached "a completely different intensity level," according to Gryshuk. She said daily practice often included three separate sessions.

            Interaction with an influential chemistry teacher led to a shift in Amy's priorities. He told Gryshuk that research fellowships were available if she worked hard. 

            "One summer, I took the opportunity," she said. "And I liked doing the research."

Dennis Kleinbach

            After receiving his accounting degree from Syracuse University, Dennis

Dennis Kleinbach

Kleinbach planned to spend four months in London, England to be an auditor. Instead, he remained abroad for five years.

            Over the years, Kleinbach – a 1965 graduate of Upper Perkiomen – lived in four European cities for 23 years. He learned French and German and held financial jobs in 35 countries throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.

            "I got the reputation as being a breed apart," said Kleinbach, who grew up in Green Lane. "The company could send me anywhere and I would not have a problem. All I needed was a plane ticket and a little bit of spending money,"

            Kleinbach, who was inducted into the Upper Perkiomen Athletic Wall of Fame in 1990, made his mark on the football field. Competing under head coach Bill Keeny, the tight end caught 51 passes and scored 17 touchdowns in two seasons At Syracuse, playing in run-first offense, he caught 10 passes over two seasons.

            The highlight of his football career came on Thanksgiving of 1963 when the Indians won a share of the Bux-Mont League title with a victory over Souderton in front of 8,500 spectators. The win denied the visiting team a perfect season and a celebratory parade through Souderton.

            During his senior season, Kleinbach helped lead the Tribe's basketball team to a Bux-Mont League championship. He described the team's District One semifinal game in the Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania against Chester.

            As a career highlight, "It was such an honor to play in that environment," Kleinbach said of the 70-50 loss on March 2, 1965. He described the game as one of his two favorite sports memories.

            Kleinbach credited Keeny for helping him develop the confidence to allow him to accept a football scholarship at Syracuse – a top-level Division I program – rather than attend Delaware, then considered a mid-major. According to Kleinbach, the coach's method of teaching his players to set goals far exceeding their expectations helped him deal with unusual professional situations.

            "Every time I had a decision to make, I would ask myself, 'What would Billy Keeny say?'" said Kleinbach who is retired and lives near San Francisco. "He said to set your goals high, then set them higher."


 

 

 

 

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