SMASD board honors retirees, new arrivals

At Thursday night's meeting of the St. Marys Area School District Board of Directors, the board took time to honor newly retired teachers, as well as introduce and welcome some new faculty and staff members. Board President Joseph Goetz presented the group with plaques commemorating their service and tenure. Recipients were: Patricia Hamblin, Marcy Holland, Susan McDonough, Margaret Miller, Karen Moyer, George Neubert, Benita Taylor, Debbie Gschwendtner, Paula Braun and Jay Moore. Superintendent Ann Kearney also introduced new additions to the faculty and staff, including Kate Bierbower, Barb Cousins, Maghan Glenn, Johanna Schmidt, Dana Smith, Robin Johnson and Suzanne Erickson. Kearney also mentioned the diminishing enrollment numbers, which have been steadily decreasing over the last nine school years. This year's third-day enrollment total was 2,245, while last year's was 2,268 and the year prior was 2,296. In addition, with this month being Suicide Prevention Month, Tracey Myers of Dickinson Center, Inc. provided a presentation on suicide prevention and preventative services which the district could offer its children. Specifically, the program developed by the Pennsylvania Crime and Delinquency Commission focuses on ways to protect children online. Myers said that cyber bullying is a leading cause of low self-esteem in teens and pre-teens. Through collaborative efforts with local police, the program hopes to raise awareness among children and their parents. It focuses on the dangers inherent in peer-to-peer websites, social networking sites, sexting and cyber bullying.