Have fun and support your favorite community center!
Help us raise funds for a new roof!
FREE! Donations welcomed!
Yum! BurghBites is coming too 2pm-5pm!
Swissvale’s Charleston Ave Wilkins School has served the community for over 90 years.
First, as an elementary school and since 1976 as a vibrant community center.
Let’s celebrate and keep the center on track for another 90 years!
Did you know that the original Wilkins School was destroyed in an explosion in 1925? The school was rebuilt two years later on the same spot for $100,000.
Want to share a story or memory? Email us irememberwilkinsschool@
What does the Wilkins School Community Center Mean to You?
I’ve been a member of the WSCC board for several years. I live just a few blocks away with my husband, and we both love that our neighborhood has a community center. Beyond being a board member, I’m a big believer in regularly using the center. I’ve taken two sessions of American Sign Language class, and I currently take ballet and jazz at WSCC Dance School. I have also attended many special events such as EcoFest programs and the Crankie performances. My husband Brian, a professional chef, has taught cooking class in the building and volunteered to prepare food for garden tours and other events. We love WSCC so much we even had our wedding reception there!
Eleven years ago, just after moving to the East End, I walked into Wilkins School Community Center because I was curious to find out what kinds of programs and activities were held there. I was enthusiastically welcomed and immediately sensed that this was a special place where creativity and friendship thrived.
Volunteers and East End residents shape the classes and events and respond to community needs and wants. Does enrollment for a new class fall a little short? No matter. Give it a chance and see if it grows. Does an area nonprofit need a place to meet? Does someone need to rent space for a party, a shower or even a wedding that doesn’t bust the budget? The list of classes and activities is incredibly long and diverse. WSCC may not have a swimming pool or a basketball court but it does offer Bollywood dancing, Italian, vegetarian cooking, Steppin’, as well as the more traditional classes like art, music, and fitness taught by incredibly talented and dedicated teachers who teach because they love to. There’s even a small gallery that an artist or crafter can rent for an exhibit, a pop-up shop or a book signing.
And you don’t even have to be a member to come to a class or one of the free community events, although a donation will be appreciated and go toward maintaining the building which has served as a community landmark for 91 years. So if you are new to the community or haven’t been to WSCC in a while, visit and find out what’s going on. It’s a guarantee that you’ll receive a warm welcome!
Our watercolor class at WSCC has become a welcoming family. We truly enjoy our friendships, and we are always happy to welcome new members to the group. We not only share watercolor classes, we share each other’s happiness, sadness and everyday events. Some of our members have been in the class for YEARS. I think that says something.
I have been teaching Mat Pilates at WSCC since 2016. It truly warms my heart to see my neighbors walking with mat in hand to the community center! We are blessed to have such a welcoming place to gather and explore movement together.
Patricia DiRienzo on behalf of
Run Around the Square
The WSCC is the “official” home of the Run Around the Square. We are an all-volunteer-run neighborhood race that has the great distinction of being the third largest running race in Pittsburgh (behind the Pittsburgh Marathon and The Great Race)! We have been running for 38 years now, and the fourth Saturday in August finds the Square filled with runners from the neighborhood and beyond who are here to participate in all of the fun that constitutes the race.
We are so grateful to have the use of storage space in the WSCC building for our race “stuff,” as well as the use of the building for the weeks prior to the run for getting ourselves organized. We get people involved in this community project, even if they are not running or walking, through a festive event the evening before the race. While runners are picking up their bibs and chips, we have a live band and food truck at WSCC and invite all to attend.
And because our mission is to support the neighborhood, we are proud to make an annual contribution to the WSCC with race proceeds. We have estimated that the Run Around the Square has contributed over $100,000 to local organizations (primarily the WSCC, the Frick Environmental Education Center, and the Regent Square Civic Association) in the course of our 38 years of running … and we are happy that we are able to do so!!
I am indeed fortunate to have been able to share the joys of practicing the martial art of Aikido Kokikai with fellow Pittsburghers – and sometimes people who’ve come from as far away as Cleveland and even northern California – at the WSCC for over 21 years. Since with martial arts we get stronger the longer we practice, I look forward to many more wonderful years at WSCC.
I love this place! Thank you for serving as a community space for so many people!
Our family’s first memory of the Wilkins School Community Center dates back more than 20 years, when we moved to Regent Square and our children were very small. We would walk to the WSCC playground, which offered fun but had seen better days at that point, being made of wood and more than a bit worn out. We were all happy to join the work crew of volunteers who built the WSCC’s new playground a few years later.
Our family looked forward to the gingerbread house workshops and many classes held inside WSCC. I’d scour the newsletter every six weeks for interesting classes to take. My favorites over the years have included yoga with Debbie Buff, jewelry making with Judith Kajder and so many, many amazing cooking classes. Our kids attended wood workshops taught by Janey Clark, summer camps organized by local teen Maura McCool, and various drumming lessons. Over the years our two children have been regular volunteers with WSCC events – and they still offer their time to help WSCC today.
Pittsburgh Society of Artists
Marlene Boas, President
We love our new home at WSCC! It’s the perfect setting for our organization and everyone at WSCC is so easy to work with. The space suits us well for our member meetings and new member screenings. We are so glad to be a partner.
I remember saying, “I love this place!” the first time I walked into the Wilkins School Community Center. It had – and still has – a very comfortable, community feeling. I have lived nearby for 43 years. The community center has always been there and thanks to Kay Wetzel and many others, it has provided a changing combination of classes, parties, clubs, and holiday sales over the years.
My daughter remembers going to Brownies in the basement. My husband Bill (who died recently) was proud to be a liaison between the community center and the Regent Square Civic Association. He was especially proud to help obtain the support of state elected officials when the center had a critical need. I ran the Holiday Gift Shop for five years and found the planning, decorating, and interacting with crafters and buyers such a rewarding experience. The WSCC is a special place!
I discovered WSCC when I married my husband 1991 and moved to Hutchinson Street in Regent Square. I live in Oakland now but my membership continues. WSCC is all that is best in a community institution – it recycles a former school, it has developed beautiful garden space, and most important of all, it brings stimulating classes and vibrant activities to the greater community.
Kay Wetzel (one of the founders) was a community activist in every sense of the word and Patty Doody (the part-time executive director) has picked up the baton and run with it.
My longest class was 10 years of Tai Chi with Stan Swartz! Any food class with David Green has been great in satisfying new learning and the appetite. Most recently I’ve enjoyed Francine VandenBerg’s creative acrylic classes.
The wonderful brunches were a highlight for me over the years, and the great Christmas gifts I found at the December shopping events provide fond memories. The most memorable event of all goes back to the 1990s when “The Teatime Ladies” performed an innovative series of woven poems acted out in hats and shared the stage with John Benedict’s folk group.
My favorite event at the Wilkins School Community Center is Books, Plants, Beer and Dogs held during the Regent Square Civic Association’s neighborhood sale each May. Who doesn’t like this combination?! The book sale is known far and wide because it’s well organized and offers great titles at reasonable prices. People of all ages stop to check out the building that day, then they sit on the steps to enjoy their snacks and watch the crowds.
WSCC is a dynamic place that offers numerous classes and events for the community. It is a place where you can learn new skills, attend great events and make new friends. Recently I participated in the “Peoples Choice” art exhibit. A novice painter, I have learned so much from the teacher Francine Vandenberg, and I have met other artists and local residents as well. My life has been enriched as a result of being involved in WSCC, and I look forward to taking more classes in the building. WSCC is a vital part of the Pittsburgh community!
I’ve been teaching at WSCC since the mid-1980s. Over the last 30+ years, starting with Kay Wetzel and now with Patty Doody, the Wilkins School has become an amazing Community Center. My wife, Patty, has also been teaching at WSCC for 15 years. Our students frequently express their appreciation of the opportunities and activities available to them at the Center.
One of my favorite WSCC memories was attending the WSCC’s garden tour in 2012. The event was well organized and allowed people to tour some unique and lovely backyard gardens and meet the home’s gracious owners. I was inspired to use ideas learned there to enhance my own garden spaces. The Christmas holiday party and sales over the years have also created special memories – the ukulele club performances, carol singing and sharing time and treats with friends new and old. The many fall events also have left a lasting impression.
I went to Shady Lane School in the early 80s when it was housed in the Wilkins School building in Regent Square. I have two vague memories of the building:
1) There was a sandbox on one side, maybe where the current playground is. I remember stepping on a bee in the sandbox, which returned the favor in kind by stinging my big toe causing it to balloon. The teachers at Shady Lane applied some type of baking soda paste for the rest of the day and the big toe made it through the day!
2) I remember a teacher (Ellen) who used to wear a green, gingham-looking dress. I also remember a teacher named Howard Booth who might have been from Regent Square. Not the most exciting memories, but memories nonetheless!