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Pennridge community foundation honors three Friends of Education

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Three individuals who have positively impacted thousands of Pennridge students during their combined nine decades of service to the District were named winners of the 2019 Friend of Education Award by the Pennridge Community Education Foundation.

High School technology education teacher Allen Androkites, Penn Central Middle School librarian MaryLou Ashworth, and bus driver/children’s book author Maria Hough were honored at PCEF’s ninth annual A Lovely Evening on Tuesday, April 30 at The Sellersville Theater.

This year’s winners were selected from among a strong field of nominations, according to PCEF President Ron Smith.

“PCEF is honored to recognize the dedication exhibited by our three award winners,” Smith said. “Celebrating the tremendous work done by those who educate and guide our students every day is the least we can do.”

Androkites has been a Pennridge teacher for 37 years, including the last 30 as the high school’s technology education department coordinator. He has been a driving force behind the evolution of a traditional wood/print shop to an award-winning STEM-based technology education lab.

Allen has been a longtime member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, where he has achieved Master Artisan status based on his work being unique, excellent in design and technique.

In November 2014, Allen received an Ambassador Award from Millersville University for helping recruit prospective students into its tech ed program. So far, he has sent 28 students to Millersville to become technology education teachers.

Ashworth has been a librarian for her entire 34-year Pennridge career, first at Seylar Elementary School and now at Penn Central Middle School. She has been an active member of the district’s Social and Emotional Learning initiative and Service Learning project. Her work on the SEL Committee highlights her deep commitment to ensuring students receive the guidance they need to develop their multiple talents.

Ashworth is a powerful voice for parents, students, teachers and administrators alike – never wavering in her passion for an integrated curriculum that weaves social/emotional skill development throughout the content and into classroom practices.

Hough began driving a Pennridge School school bus in 2002. She loved it so much that she wrote (and self-published) a children’s book titled, “Outside My School Bus Window, ” with photographs and prose based upon her actual run. Then, with support from several Pennridge educators, she developed an early education curriculum program for K-2 grade students based around the book’s content.

Hough has also participated in the transportation department’s education program for first-grade students. She volunteered on a team of drivers that visited the district’s seven elementary schools to teach youngsters how to safely ride the bus as well as ease their fears.

In addition to the award presentations, the event featured performances by the Pennridge High School String Ensemble, Jazz Band, Chamber Choir, the Fematas a capella group and selections from the STARS presentation of “Cinderella.”

Founded 2008, PCEF supports Pennridge students through Classroom Innovation Grants and scholarships. Since September, the organization has awarded 15 grants totaling more than $10,000 and will present a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior.


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