Carnegie boy gets to be mayor for a day |

Carnegie boy gets to be mayor for a day

Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
Lynn Mollica smiles at her son Joseph Mollica, 8, at their residence in Carnegie. Joseph will be mayor for a day and light Carnegie's Christmas tree Saturday, December 6.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
Lynn Mollica kisses her son Joseph Mollica, 8, at their residence in Carnegie. Joseph will be mayor for a day and light Carnegie's Christmas tree Saturday, December 6.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
Joseph Mollica, 8, plays with a toy car set at his residence in Carnegie. Joseph will be mayor for a day and light Carnegie's Christmas tree Saturday, December 6.

After school, Joseph Mollica can usually be found at Carnegie playground or watching “Storm Chasers” on Discovery Channel if it’s too cold outside.

But on Dec. 6, the tornado-loving 8-year-old will be sitting in a fire truck by PNC Bank on West Main Street as he waits to flip the switch on the borough tree and kicking off the holiday season at the borough’s annual Light Up Night as “Mayor for the Day.”

“I’m going to light the tree, ride the fire truck, see Santa Claus and be the first in line,” he said, running around his home.

Joseph, who has Jeune and Sensenbrenner syndromes, both congenital disorders that affect cartilage and bone development, is this year’s mayor for a day.

“I’m excited for him. He loves being the center of attention and being on stage,” said his mother, Lynn, who grew up on Wilcox Street and lives there now with her five children and husband, Joe.

This is the fifth year Mayor Jack Kobistek will bestow his duties to a student from Carnegie Elementary School for a day.

“There are many more well deserving people than myself to light that tree,” Kobistek said. “I let the school decide and pick a student that has shown a lot of improvement in school. Joseph is well deserving.”

Joseph is mainstreamed in 90 percent of his classes and said his favorite part of school is being with friends.

He will be honored Dec. 6 with a proclamation at Carnegie Elementary School in the morning and again at Light Up Night, at about 5 p.m. before the lighting of the tree.

The first-grader must be on a ventilator at night because of his underdeveloped lungs, but there never seems to have a dull moment at home between his four older sisters and younger brother, Dominic. They argue and play over Hot Wheels and picture books like any siblings.

This year’s light-up night in Carnegie will be a little different because for the first time, the library, local businesses and borough are combining for one celebration. Joseph is invited to all events, and will receive the mayoral treatment at all events.

Kobistek doesn’t expect this tradition to end anytime soon.

“It’s a great way to start the holiday season and honestly makes my holiday season a little better,” he said.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or [email protected].

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