Force native Jacinta Lovenduski is discovering the joy of educating young minds as a third grade teacher at Broad Street Elementary in Butler, Pa., about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh. Now in her third year in the education field, Lovenduski said she believes teaching is the most rewarding job there is.
"I enjoy teaching because of the transformation that the students make over time. To be able to share in their achievements is a wonderful feeling," Lovenduski said. "Every day is a new adventure. They (her students) make me laugh and are a joy to be around."
The 2004 graduate of St. Marys Area High School earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Lock Haven University in 2008. She credited many people with influencing and supporting her throughout her schooling years.
"My younger brothers inspired me at a young age that becoming a teacher was the best fit for me. My friends and college professors encouraged me and mentored me throughout my college career. They have taught me so much about myself and my career," Lovenduski said.
"Most importantly, my mom has been a constant in my life. She was and is my greatest support. She shares in my successes and gives me that extra boost when life is challenging.
"I know that I’m where I’m at today because of her love and support."
In many cases, educators who have been in the field for a significant amount of time are the ones who receive honors or recognition, but Lovenduski has already made a mark in that area, when last spring she was awarded a Promethean Board, an interactive "white board" that integrates technology into the classroom, for a technology grant she had written.
"This school year, I have been busy implementing this new piece of technology into my lessons," Lovenduski said. "It has been a lot a fun to use and the kids are just fascinated with the versatility of it."
Lovenduski is also involved in an interesting activity outside of the classroom that will benefit all of the children in her area: She is part of a team of teachers working to raise money to build a spray park for the city of Butler. Spray parks, which are becoming increasingly popular across the nation, are recreation areas with water features that spray water from various devices and enable users to play in it.
Lovenduski is kept busy working to make a difference in both her classroom and her new city, and said she loves living in Butler. Her family ties in Elk County, however, bring her back on a regular basis.
"My family and friends bring me back home. It is hard to be away, so I try to visit often and still be involved in my brothers’ lives," Lovenduski said.