The Carbon County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) presented a scholarship to a local education student during its annual spring business meeting at the Mahoning Valley Country Club. The group also recognized a long-standing member for her contributions to the Carbon County chapter.
An education scholarship was awarded to Maria Mesko of Summit Hill, a junior at East Stroudsburg University. She is majoring in integrated early childhood education and special education and will graduate in May 2013.
Mesko graduated summa cum laude from Lehigh Carbon Community College in 2004 and began attending classes at East Stroudsburg in 2010. She works as head teacher in the toddler room at Saucon Valley Community Center and continues to work there as well as the Little Bear Cub Care in Coaldale while attending classes and finishing her degree.
The scholarship was presented by Jill DeLong, the chapter's Educational Support chairperson. Chapter President Marjorie Balliet also commended Mesko's academic achievements and career goals, and wished her well in the future.
Chapter member Mary Ellen Poe was also honored with a special commendation from the PASR Board of Directors for her outstanding contributions of service to the Carbon Chapter. Poe taught business education for 31 years before retiring from Lehighton Area School District in 1987. She joined Carbon PASR that same year, serving as chapter treasurer from 1988-2006, membership chair, and member of the Educational Support Committee.
She also served as a tutor with the Carbon County Volunteers for Literacy from 1988-1998. Poe served as member of the board of directors of the Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital and Blue Mountain Health System from 1984 to the present, serving as chairwoman from 2000-2004.
The spring Carbon PASR meeting marked the state association's 75th anniversary. The state Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees was founded in 1937 and represents more than 190,000 public school retirees across the state. PASR's more than 33,000 member teachers, administrators and school support personnel are dedicated to serving others in need and helping each other enjoy retirement. The Carbon chapter is home to nearly 300 members and is also dedicated to community service, having completed more than 46,000 hours of volunteer work in 2011.
Special guests attending the Carbon PASR meeting included PASR President Dr. Stephen M. Vak, state Sen. David Argall, and state Rep. Doyle Heffley. Also present was Region 2 Director JoAnn Bailey, who offered a short presentation in honor of past chapter presidents.
The business meeting was followed by a luncheon and entertainment by Henry Long and Group.