TA grad into ‘Wall of Fame’
Jeanette (Faux) Siegel, a 1982 graduate of Tunkhannock Area High School, was recently announced as one of this year’s inductees into the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Athletics Wall of Fame.
Siegel, 49, of Falls, attended Penn State Wilkes-Barre from 1982 to 1984 and excelled both in the classroom and on the volleyball court.
She earned Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference All-Conference honors as a member of the 1984 CCAC Championship team that finished 15-1. Off the court, she was named to the Dean’s List for three semesters and was involved with the school newspaper as a writer and editor.
Siegel graduated from University Park in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.
“I’m honored that I was nominated and then selected to be part of it,” Siegel said. “I was lucky enough to play on a volleyball team with a lot of my high school teammates. We had a great working relationship already and had some success in high school so we put together a nice, competitive team. To be recognized for something purely enjoyable on our part is an honor and a privilege.”
As a junior at Tunkhannock, Siegel and a surrounding cast of juniors won the district championship under head coach Don Davis, who will be returning to coach the Lady Tigers team this fall.
Siegel was the setter on the team, which ran a five-and-one offense that featured five hitters and one setter in the lineup.
“We had a strong hitter so we were able to do some damage,” Siegel said.
That year was also when she played in one of her favorite volleyball games.
“We were playing North Pocono and we were underdogs coming into the game because I think they were the defending champs with really good players,” Siegel said. “We played a perfect game to knock them off, then went on to win districts. Even though it was only a league game I think that was when we knew, ‘wow, we have a really good team.’”
The girls returned for their senior seasons with high expectations, but were upset that year and didn’t make it to states.
However, the bond that they formed on the court meant more than wins and losses ever could.
“We definitely learned the meaning of team,” Siegel said. “When you play a team sport you’ve got to support each other and not only practice together but keep each other mentally strong and upbeat. We tried to support each other if things were going well or if they weren’t, and we never put the blame on one person; it was always a team effort, good or bad. That helped give us some success, and that same philosophy carried over through the two college years.”
At Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Siegel took up her familiar role as setter and shared the court with several of her Lady Tigers teammates.
“I went out for the team not really thinking we’d be a huge success but purely because I wanted to stay in shape and that a lot of my friends were playing,” Siegel said. “I think because we were having a good time and enjoyed each other, success came naturally. We just always liked being in the mix of things and it was fun compete. We never took each other too seriously and had a good time with it.”
After two years at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Siegel made the move to University Park. Though her volleyball days were over, she remained busy in other ways.
“There was so many people and so many options that it was easy to fill my time,” she said.
After graduating from Penn State, Siegel contemplated going to law school or getting her masters or doctorate, but wanted to take a couple of years off from school. She got a job teaching word processing machines and computers to adults, as typewriters were slowly becoming obsolete.
Siegel worked there for eight years, took some time off to start a family, then went back to school at Misericordia University to get her teaching certification and accepted a position at Tunkhannock Area Middle School, teaching language arts.
Though her volleyball days are now a thing of the past, athleticism certainly continued to run in the Siegel family gene. Siegel’s husband, Gary, was a wrestling state champion at Crestwood High School who went on to Syracuse University, and her three sons, Josh, Jake and Ben, all have excelled on one playing field or another, though none, funny enough, on the volleyball court.
“I thought Ben might have been the one to do it,” Siegel chuckled. “We used to play when his older brothers were playing sports or at practice. We’d hit the ball around but he ended doing up other things.”
Siegel has certainly enjoyed watching her sons, play their respective sports throughout the years in both high school and college.
“I love it, I don’t know what I’m going to do next year,” Siegel said of her son, Ben, graduating from Tunkhannock High School this year. “I’ll have to start watching other children. My son (Jacob) runs for West Chester so we’ll be able to follow them for a few more years anyway.”
And while her name will be etched in Penn State Wilkes Barre history, there will always be a great debate to crown the best athlete in the Siegel family.
“I have to confess, I got this award but honestly in my family I’m probably the least athletic person,” Siegel joked.