During his time at PSU-LV, John served as president of Lambda Pi Eta, the official honor society of the National Communication Association. In this role, he has facilitated several community service projects, including a stocking stuffer drive for homeless veterans, working at local family centers and animal rescue farms, and a donation drive for Second Harvest Food Bank and Valley Youth House. He also served on the Facilities and Maintenance committee of Student Government Association.
“I liked Penn State Lehigh Valley because I could stay for four years and be close to home. The fact that it is one building made it easy to navigate. And everyone here is so encouraging and supportive… I feel I’ve really grown in my confidence and abilities here!” John said.
A generous spirit
Giving back through service, in the community as well as on campus, is very important to John. He has been on the board of the Miracle League of Northampton County since 2010 and serves as an assistant coach. He earned Eagle Scout status in 2013. For his Eagle Scout leadership project, John collected more than 850 pounds of new clothing and raised nearly $5,000 to cover the shipping costs for Warm the Children, a church-based charity that provides brand new clothing and other necessities to children in orphanages in Eastern Europe and Greece. He is currently a member of the troop committee for Troop 362 Minsi Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America. John is also a member of the National Slovak Society, Assembly RO59, a fraternal organization that raises funds for local, national, and international charities.
“John is involved with so many nonprofits. Since he was young, through both Cub Scouts and through church, he always thought of helping others,” said Paula. “It’s who he is. He is always kind.”
John is quick to point out that he can, and does, normal everyday things.
“I don’t let cerebral palsy stop me. I go camping, I have taken martial arts classes. I can do everything that other people can do,” John said.
At the PSU-LV Student Awards Ceremony held at the Lehigh Valley campus in April, John was awarded the Heart of the Lion Award, which is presented to a PSU-LV student who has overcome notable obstacles of any kind, and has demonstrated grit, gumption and sheer determination.
“John is the most gracious, humble, and inspiring individual I have had the pleasure to read about, speak to, and get to know here on campus,” said Heather Amatore, administrative assistant at Penn State Lehigh Valley. Amatore was one of multiple people who nominated John for the Heart of the Lion award.
“Simply by being himself, John reminds us all that his physical limitations make him differently abled in his pursuit of excellence and education,” said Beth Michalec, lecturer in corporate communication at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “Our corporate communication degree program and campus community are lucky and better for having John Lahutsky as a student.”
“The corporate communication major was perfect for me. I love what it offered with writing, marketing, event planning. There are a variety of options. I love communicating with people. It’s who I am. I love being around people and my communication professors have been amazing!” John said.
“John is the type of student any faculty member would love to have in their program… John has shown leadership, campus engagement, scholarship and professionalism. John is a great example of a truly dedicated student," said Bob Wolfe, faculty adviser and coordinator of the corporate communication program at PSU-LV.