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Retired teacher trades windsurfing lessons for charity

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Caption: Tom Gabrielson and Bill van den Berg during a windsurfing lesson at Sayers Lake on Friday, August 12, 2011. CDT/Christopher Weddle 

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2011

BY ED MAHON

HOWARD — Standing up to his waist in Sayers Lake, Bill van den Berg watched Tom Gabrielson clamber onto the windsurfing board.

Both were bearded men with doctorates — van den Berg in biophysics, Gabrielson in acoustics.

But one of them was new to the sport. “I want you to get on the board and just walk around a little bit,” van den Berg told him. “Just get a feel — whoa.”

Gabrielson had slipped over and splashed into the water.

“All right,” said a laughing Gabrielson. “Got to get the first one out of the way.”

Van den Berg, 65, is a retired high school physics teacher, an amateur photographer and a budding windsurfing instructor. He first took up the sport 1996. In 2007, he retired from State College Area High School, bought a house about 500 yards from Sayers Lake and got certified by U.S. Sailing as a windsurfing instructor.

In lieu of a fee, he asks clients to make a donation of between $60 and $100 to Centre Volunteers in Medicine, the American Red Cross, or about 20 other nonprofits.

Windsurfing on Sayers Lake is not like windsurfing in North Carolina, Hawaii or the Caribbean. The surrounding mountains can make the wind erratic. But van den Berg said light breezes can be good for beginners.

Read more: Retired teacher trades windsurfing lessons for charity.

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School districts roll out changes on first day of classes

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Caption: Bellefonte Area High School’s new principal Jennifer Brown waves to students as they make their way to class, September 6, 2011. CDT/Nabil K. Mark 

BY ED MAHON

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011

BELLEFONTE — As she walked the hallways before the homeroom bell, Jennifer Brown reminded one student to remove his cap, introduced herself to a student she had spotted the other day on a sports field, told some ninth-graders it was natural to feel nervous, and helped several more find their way around a new building.

“All right, honey, go in,” she said to a ninth-grade student who was looking for directions in Bellefonte Area High School.

Brown and that ninth-grade student she helped guide were two of the many people tackling new challenges as the first day of school began in the Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte and Penns Valley school districts Tuesday.

Brown, the high school’s new principal, has spent most of her life either as a student or as an educator in the Bellefonte schools. As a high school student, she served as class president, participated on the cheer-leading team, played softball and tutored peers with learning disabilities. She graduated in 1995, attended Lock Haven University, then returned to her alma mater as a learning support teacher. She has served as vice principal at the high school and middle school.

“She has a lot of energy and sincere enthusiasm for helping students,” said middle school Principal Karen Krisch.

Read more: School districts roll out changes on first day of classes.

Philipsburg-Osceola students get new looks during first day

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Music teacher Valerie Stiner teaches the students the macarena dance during an all-school assembly at North Lincoln Hill Elementary. Wednesday, August 31, 2011 is the first day of school for the Philipsburg-Osceola School District. CDT/Nabil K. Mark

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2011

BY ED MAHON

CHESTER HILL, Clearfield County — More than 300 fifth-and-sixth-grade students would be streaming into the auditorium within the next 10 minutes, and Valerie Stiner and Sarah Sarvey had work to do.

The two teachers — one in her 30th year with the district, the other in her first— reviewed how to do the “Chicken Dance,” wondered whether you should hop to the right or to the left during the “Macarena,” and made plans for the future.

“The next time we do one of these big assemblies, we’re going to do the electric slide,” Stiner said to Sarvey shortly before the 7:45 morning announcement at North Lincoln Hill Elementary School.

The duo’s job was to welcome fifth-and-sixth-grade students to North Lincoln Hill — which, like other elementary schools in the district, began its first day with a new setup.

In past years, the district had three kindergarten through sixth-grade elementary schools. But now Osceola Mills and Philipsburg elementary schools each have kindergarten through fourth-grade students and North Lincoln has fifth-and sixth-grades. The move is one step in a multiyear plan at Philipsburg- Osceola to close the junior high school building and convert the North Lincoln Hill building into a fifth-through eighth-grade middle school.

On Wednesday, it meant more new faces for fifth-and sixth-grade students than in the previous year.

“Nervous,” is how 10- year-old Lydia Ralston described how she felt about the first day. Last year, she attended fourth grade at Osceola Mills.

Read more: Philipsburg-Osceola students get new looks during first day.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey tours Centre County technical school, calls programs strong.

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

 

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2011

BY ED MAHON

PLEASANT GAP — With President Barack Obama scheduled to give a major jobs speech before a joint session of Congress in less than a week, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey visited the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology on Friday and applauded the school’s role in training students.

Read more: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey tours Centre County technical school, calls programs strong.

Q & A with Cheryl Potteiger

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Caption: Cheryl Potteiger is the new superintendent for the Bellefonte Area School District. CDT/Nabil K. Mark July 25, 2011 

BY ED MAHON

PUBLISHED SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2011

IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

Cheryl Potteiger once had a 74-mile commute to work. Now she’s living down the street from her office.

Picking an apartment in downtown Bellefonte, on the same street as the Bellefonte Area School District’s administrative offices, is just one of the many ways the district’s new superintendent is getting to know her new community.

Potteiger began her education career in 1980 as a learning support teacher in the West Shore Area School District. She left teaching and spent three years selling insurance and investment services, but education lured her back.

Over the next 23 years she served school districts in Dauphin and Berks counties in roles that included emotional support teacher, elementary principal and grant writer.Most recently, the Halifax resident was an assistant superintendent in the Hamburg Area School District.

Potteiger took over July 1 as Bellefonte’s new superintendent, a role in which she will oversee six schools, about 430 employees and about 2,890 students.

Read more: Q and A with Cheryl Potteiger.