James T. Benedek attributes experiences learned while at Elizabeth Forward with many of his achievements he has earned since. Lessons in teamwork that sports taught him, for public speaking skills and the passion for the arts that musical involvement afforded him and for teachers that showed him the importance of helping the next generation of young scholars and community leaders were all acquired at EF.
Benedek, son of Jim and Renee Benedek, currently an Associate Attorney with the elder law firm of Zacharia Brown, P.C., is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania achievements.
At EF, Benedek was the treasurer of the Class of 2013; a member of the baseball, basketball and golf teams; a three-year lead actor in the high school musicals (Back to the 80's: Corey Palmer, Jr., Wedding Singer: Sammy, and Beauty and the Beast: Lumiere), and an Elite 20 honoree. He also had the esteem honor of receiving the Elizabeth Forward Student Aid Fund Dr. Frank Bondi Scholarship.
During his undergraduate experience at The Catholic University of America (CUA), Benedek excelled both inside and outside the classroom He received with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Summa Cum Laude, in Politics, minors in Philosophy and Theology, and honors in Theology and Humanities. He was inducted into membership in the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.
At CUA, Benedek was a Resident Assistant and Student Coordinator of Residence Life. He also served as an intern for two members of the United States House of Representatives. When not in class, he was working to make an active difference in his university community by becoming a member of the student government. He was elected Vice President of the CUA Student Government Association during his junior year. In his senior year, James focused on two of his passions: elder advocacy and law. James worked for AARP as a member of the Campaign Strategies team. He also became President of the Pre-Law Society at CUA.
His academic pursuits next took him to the Duquesne University School of Law. Benedek graduated Cum Laude from law school and was also honored with the Distinguished Student Award, which is one of three awards given to graduating Duquesne Law Students and is given to the recipient for having displayed general scholastic excellence and having performed meritorious service for the School of Law. As a law student, he received three Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) Awards for excellence in the areas of Torts, Constitutional Law and Pretrial Civil Litigation. These awards are bestowed upon the student with the highest grade in those subject areas for the academic period.
Outside of his academic pursuits at Duquesne, Benedek also found himself drawn to his original passion of elder law advocacy that he discovered at CUA. He began working for the elder law firm, Zacharia Brown, P.C. as a Client Relationship Coordinator and Legal Assistant. He also was offered a Legal Research Assistant position performing research on an Elder Justice Initiative in Allegheny County and Pennsylvania. This project's purpose was to develop ideas to make elder justice accessible for members of the Allegheny County community. Benedek was also privileged to work as the student manager for the Will and Healthcare Decisions Clinic. The clinic was devoted to providing estate planning services to indigent people in Allegheny County. In his role of student manager, he had the ability to complete various projects regarding community partnerships and helped students understand the benefits of aiding the indigent population. This experience was one of the most rewarding during his time in law school
Last year, Benedek took on a new role when he accepted the position of Director of the Elizabeth Forward High School Musical. In his first year as director, the program was nominated for seven Gene Kelly Awards including Best Musical and won Best Lead Actor and Best Crew/Technical Execution. He was appreciative of the opportunity to give back to a program that has given so much to him and to share the joy of theater with the brilliant and talented students at Elizabeth Forward. His formative years involved with the musical program provided him with the skills that led to much of his young success in life thus far. He cherishes the opportunities that EF provided him and hopes he can provide those same opportunities to current students so that they can make an even bigger impact on the community.
Benedek currently lives in Belle Vernon, PA, his wife, Annie, and his dog, Rudy.