The Royal

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The Royal

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The Backyard Neighbor

Fostering Unity Beyond Rivalry

The fierce competition between Hempfield and Greensburg Salem extended further than just on the football field or basketball court; it’s a testament to the rich history and unwavering pride that defines these two close-knit towns. This rivalry is more than just on the field, but off the field, this competition is turned into a fun rivalry amongst the community members.

One individual represents the values, traditions, and unwavering spirits of Greensburg Salem; meet principal, Mr. David Zilli, a true “Golden Lion” who bleeds brown and gold.

Zilli’s journey started as a student within the halls of Greensburg where he graduated in

Principal, Mr. David Zilli, awarding students at a school board meeting. (Jeff Himler)

1982, which eventually led to a principal position at his alma mater. He grew from an English teacher to an Athletic Director, to the Dean of students, then transitioned as an Assistant Principal, and finally is ending his career as their Building Principal. His dedication and commitment to his Greensburg Salem community is clear.

The Spartans and Lions have always had a rivalry- the neighboring towns would taunt one another the week of the football game. Zilli states the taunting was always in a fun way and nothing ever dangerous.

Yet, the greatest were connections between Hempfield and Greensburg Salem for Mr. Zilli – his own son. “That was a very interesting experience for me. Growing up, you didn’t really root for Hempfield if you were a Greensburg person. I coached recreationally when my son was playing, so that was really the only time I ever have rooted for Hempfield.”

Today, Mr. Zilli believes the districts’ relationship has changed in a positive way.  The “Mighty Spartans” and “Golden Lions” have marched down Main Street together before football games, have competed in charitable events, have co-sponsored blood drives, and have now joined the fight against pediatric cancer through their respective Mini-THONs.  From spray-painted mascots to bragging rights, the competitive nature was always put aside in the end. 

Keiran Lippmann celebrates at the “Backyard Brawl” game at Offutt Field.

“The thing that made this rivalry extra special was that we would all end up going to church together, we went out in the evening together, and you would always see students from the other school.”

Through it all, continued Zilli, both schools have come together for many great causes, even if the sports competition still exists.  “I think there is a continued relationship that we have, between both the students and adults… we are and have built a close-knit community.” 

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About the Contributor
Malea Nadeo
Malea Nadeo, Contributor
Born and raised in Hempfield, Malea Nadeo has been a member of the Spartan community her whole life. She is the Overall Administrator of Hempfield Area Mini-THON, a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, and Project 18, and fills her free time with a plethora of clubs. She loves getting involved around the school and spends most of her time raising money for Mini - THON, volunteering for United Spartans, and taking photos at pep rallies and sports events. Malea is most passionate about Television Writing and Broadcasting, where she is an anchor on Hempfield's news "15601". When she isn't in school, Malea enjoys spending time with her friends and family, creating videos, and listening to her favorite music.  In future years, Malea hopes to go to Penn State University for telecommunications and media industries to go on to work in television and help create movies. Writing for The Royal, taking photos for the yearbook, and anchoring 15601  allows Malea to do what she loves best - connect with her school community.