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Special Maroon & Gray Issue
2021 Maroon & Gray Beneficiary:
The Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund and Grant Program

Largest Award to Date Enhanced Virtual Learning During Critical Time

When the 2020-21 school year began, students and teachers alike were adapting to new ways of instruction and learning. With some students in-person and others attending virtually, technology became an even more crucial part of every classroom.

The district made a big investment to make remote learning more effective during the pandemic, thanks, in part, to a $50,000 grant from the Education Foundation. The Mardi Lowry McDonough Student Opportunity Grant Program funded half of the Education Foundation’s total contribution.

Teachers received either external computer monitors and/or voice amplifying microphones, which immediately made a positive impact in student engagement. In the future, the equipment will continue to be used either by the teachers in new models or repurposed to support updating equipment in areas like shared technology labs, libraries, etc.

Your support for the Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund and Grant Program helps to make sure that funding is available for the important investments that are in addition to the district’s budget. As we continue this virtual celebration of the Maroon & Gray Society, you can make an impact on students and teachers.



Honoring the 2020 Maroon & Gray Society

Every week we’ll feature our Maroon & Gray Society honorees. We look forward to formally inducting them at the banquet in 2022.

Joyce Lee, Retired Educator: Dedicated to Student Success

Joyce Lee’s lengthy career made an incredible positive impact on students and the district. Her colleagues say Joyce is the type of teacher that was not only effective at her life’s work, but also put a smile on children’s faces when she taught and interacted with them.

Nancy Baumrucker, a friend and colleague said Joyce was dedicated to helping each student reach higher levels of learning no matter the pace or setbacks they faced along the way.

“Joyce’s impact on students and on the district as a whole was significant and a force for good, and way ahead of the times,” says Nancy. “Behind it, and behind all that Joyce accomplished in her career, was her dedication to meeting the needs of all children.” 

Read the full profile.


Thomas Gentzel ’69: A Strong National Voice in Public Education

Thomas Gentzel has an impressive 35 years of experience advocating for school boards and is known as a thought leader in public education. As executive director and CEO of the National School Board Association, he is one of the country’s strongest voices for America’s public schools.

Back in high school though, he was best known for a different role: the Little Lion mascot! During football games, pep rallies and other school events, he transformed from a self-described scrawny kid to enthusiastic mascot.

“I was a scrawny, 115-pound kid — not especially athletic — so having to do pushups after each touchdown was probably the biggest challenge,” he recalls. “Although we didn’t score a lot that season! It was a lot of fun.”

After graduating from State High, Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Development and a Master of Public Administration degree from Penn State. His early career involved working in rural development programs and then for county government. One day, he was approached about a lobbyist job at the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA). “I was still in my 20s, with a young family, and it looked like a good opportunity,” he says. “I certainly couldn’t have known then that I would go on to be the chief lobbyist and later executive director of PSBA, and then CEO of its national organization.”

Read the full profile.