Every day before lunch, the regulars make their way to the school nurse's office at Seneca Valley Senior High School.
In that office, Jill Schulz keeps watch as the students take steps to keep their diabetes under control. Before they eat, they have to check their blood sugar. Then they plan their carbohydrate intake and, if necessary, administer their insulin injections.
At Rowan Elementary School in the school district, school nurse Lynn Dobrick has more hands-on responsibility for the children who have diabetes.
She helps them learn to manage their condition and gives insulin as needed.
For their efforts on behalf of students with diabetes, both nurses have been honored with certificates from the American Diabetes Association of Western Pennsylvania.
Both were nominated for the honors by parents.
Ms. Schulz, 49, of Cranberry, was nominated by Dawna Stintzi, whose daughter, Kristen, did not know she had diabetes until she visited the school nurse's office in her junior year, feeling sick.
"I did an assessment and found that she had the classic signs of diabetes," Ms. Schulz said.
These include exhaustion, excessive thirst and hunger, blurry vision and frequent urination.
Ms. Schulz talked to Kristen and learned that she had a relative with diabetes, so she checked the young girl's blood sugar level.
"It was really high," she said.
Ms. Stintzi was called immediately. She called her family doctor, who insisted that mother and daughter head straight to Children's Hospital in Oakland.
"As soon as we got her to the emergency room, they took her right away," Ms. Stintzi said. "They gave her an IV and some insulin."
Kristen was admitted, Ms. Stintzi said, and kept for two days until her blood sugar was under control and she learned how to manage the disease, including giving herself injections.
At Rowan, Ms. Dobrick, 54, of Zelienople, was nominated by Lisa Reagle, whose daughter, Gina, has diabetes.
Gina has been under Ms. Dobrick's care for the past four years, and will move on to Haine Middle School in the fall. Ms. Reagle nominated Ms. Dobrick for putting her mind at ease when Gina went school.
In a letter she wrote to the Diabetes Association nominating Ms. Dobrick, Ms. Reagle described her as kind, gentle, compassionate and a "school mom," a "guardian angel" who helped her daughter stay healthy at school.
Both nurses were awarded certificates from the Diabetes Association naming them Partners in Caring for going above and beyond to help children with diabetes.
In Ms. Stintzi's mind, Kristen was more than lucky that her school nurse took the time to put all the clues together and come up with an accurate diagnosis.
"I think she really saved her life," Ms. Stintzi said.
Maureen Byko is a freelance writer.