Marian says goodbye, thank you, to three dedicated teachers
With 117 combined years of service as educators at Marian Catholic High School, the Marian family said goodbye at the close of the school year to three dedicated teachers. Maureen Heffelfinger, 55 years, Stan Dakosty, 43 years, and Teresa Sheer, 22 years, retired at the conclusion of the school year. We offer our sincerest appreciation to the trio for their dedicated and unyielding support of Marian and wish them health and happiness in retirement. Dakosty will be returning in 2020-2021 as the head football coach, and will build on his career of 43 years as a grid coach, 40 of which were spent at MCHS when he compiled a record of 309-148-3. Sheer will also continue to mentor a class here on a part-time basis.
In May, 1965, after graduating from Kutztown University, Maureen Heffelfinger returned to Marian (Class of ‘61) and began a 55-year teaching journey. In her first year, in addition to French and Spanish, she taught girls’ Health and Physical Education. Since then, she taught all four levels of French and Spanish. Some of her extracurricular duties over the years have been: French and Spanish Honor Society moderator, coordinator of Blue/Gold activities, co-coordinator of play ticket distribution, cheerleader coach, band front assistant, Language Department chairperson and chaperone of student trips to Europe and Québec. She said, “My years at Marian have given me the opportunity to meet and work with students, teachers and staff who have been an inspiration and have given me new ideas and an incentive to continue teaching. Also, many of my former students and co-workers are now some of my closest friends. “At Marian, the faculty members and administration work together to help our students become the best they can be, both academically and spiritually. The result is that Marian strives to provide a quality education that prepares students for college, jobs and life.”
Stan Dakosty came to Marian in 1977 and held numerous positions here in addition to his highly-successful tenure on the gridiron. In the classroom, he taught Social Studies, while also being Marian’s athletic director for over 30 years. He also had a stint as head track coach during his career. He said, “Whenever I had the opportunity, I told anyone who would listen that I teach and coach at the best high school in the state. I have seen greatness, in so many different areas, walk the halls of Marian. I firmly believe that with the continued support of the Marian family that Marian’s best days are still ahead.” About returning as the head football coach, he added, “After thoughtful consideration and the support of my family, I am proud and excited to return as the head football coach. My intent will be to run a first class program that will bring out the best of the Marian student athletes on and off the field. I will be reaching out to the Marian Family, who have been so supportive to our program in the past, asking them to continue the support and to build upon it.”
Teresa Sheer began her teaching career in the Hazleton Area School District, spending five years there before leaving to start a family. She returned to teaching when her and her husband Steve’s children attended McAdoo Catholic, becoming a substitute and later full-time teacher there. She later became a math teacher at Marian, teaching Algebra II, Geometry and Pre-Calculus. Teresa later started to teach for Lehigh Carbon Community College, both on their campus and at Marian, with a schedule that included College Algebra and Probability and Statistics, for which the Marian students can earn college credits. In all, she has taught for 45 years, including 25 in the Allentown Diocese, 22 of which were at Marian. At MCHS, she was active in planning the Catholic School Week activities, served as moderator of the Brain Teaser Club, and, dearest to her heart, was the forming of the Rock Music Ministry, a group that enhances our weekly liturgies, saying “I have the privilege of sharing this ministry with our partner schools for a liturgy each year.” Teresa became Marian’s Director of Studies eight years ago, addressing both curriculum and educational matters along with remaining in the classroom with students. She also accepted responsibilities regarding enrollment while working with the Healy Foundation and Partners in Mission to expand our enrollment options. She said, “Marian is a huge part of not only my life, by both graduating from and spending my career there, but also my family’s as well, being that my husband and four children also graduated from the school. Through all this, I see the success of not only my family but the many proud students who have attended, graduated and returned to share their successes. I have gained my fond memories and friendships over the years.” Commencement exercises for the Marian Catholic High School Class of 2020 are scheduled for June 12, 2020 on the front lawn of the school, where a modified program will take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic and PA Department of Health regulations currently in place with regard to crowds.
Seventy-two graduates are the newest members of Marian Catholic Alumni Association
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 72 members of the class and officially welcome them as the newest members of the Marian Catholic High School Alumni Association. You will remember in 2019, the association granted membership to graduates, who received their membership cards with their diplomas. Continuing that practice, our newest members include: Macy Erin Alansky, Alison Paige Anilosky, Autumn Marie Ann Ankiewicz, Mackayla Marie Aucker, Nevin James Baskin, Brian William Bauer, Sophia Amanda Bauer, Hannah Marie Bennett, Thomas Richard Betterly, Lacey Ann Blasko, Jonathan Patrick Bonomo, Rachel Elizabeth Casella, Patrick John Cervasio, Laura Josephine D’Amato, Caleb William Dalvet, Christian Joseph DeAngelo, Seth Michael Derr, Abbey Elizabeth Digris, Madison Elizabeth Dulina, Jaryn Michael Eroh, Samantha Rose Eroh, Chad Robert Eschbach, Nicholas Michael Falls, Tyler Raymond Fritz, Michael Angelo Fuccile, Maricruz Desire Garcia-Taveras, Edward Robert Gimeno, Nicholas David Goff, Gavin Michael Grega, Annika Michelle Grace Hahn, Sarah Grace Halupa, Zackery Dylan Hnat, Vladimir Holoviak, Emily Kasandra Hydock, Abigail Grace Joy, Gráinne Kelly, James Robert Kelly, Jessica Lynn Kolbush, Julia Rose Kreisl, Alexander Christopher Kubishin, Cara Josephine Lake, Christopher Anthony Latoff, Aaron Jay Mason, Macie Elizabeth Mazalusky, Aliyah Jordan McHugh, Carolyn Marie Mehallo, Mason Russell Miller, Michael John Minchhoff, Jacob Eric Mussoline, Maria Alena Pastorella, Victoria Rose Pekala, Makenna Nichole Piaskowski, Andraya Janell Pikitus, Anthony John Pizzali, Emily Jane Reaman, Colin Michael Rehnert, Lyndsey Irene Reinoehl, Christopher Thomas Ritsick, Emily Madison Shaud, Hunter George Shimko, Nadiya Alaina Sieger, Bryan Robespierre, Thomas George Smith, Olivia Marie Stettler, Auxillian Lucca Sebastian Stroia, April Ann Tate, Taylor Mae Thomas, David Edward Tilp, Tiffany Marie Ustynoski, Nicholas Stephen Waak, Joseph David Wargo III, Jared James Wimmer and Zachary Marino Zulkowski.
Welcome Father Hoffa, our new Head of School
The Marian Catholic High School Alumni Association offers a hearty welcome to the Rev. Allen Hoffa, Summit Hill. Bishop Alfred Schlert, from the Diocese of Allentown, named Father Hoffa the Interim Head of School at Marian Catholic High School, effective July 1, 2020. Father Hoffa has served on the school’s Board of Directors for the past year. He will succeed the current principal, Jean Susko. Jean will embark on a new leadership role at Marian as Director of Academic Studies. In addition to providing overall leadership for the school and promoting its Catholic identity and mission, Father Hoffa will focus on development, fiscal management and enrollment at the school. He will also continue in his role as pastor of St. Joseph Parish of the Panther Valley, Summit Hill. The Board of Directors will begin its search for a permanent principal soon. Father Hoffa’s interim leadership at the school will be for one academic year, unless the search identifies a candidate sooner. “For over 65 years, Marian Catholic High School has been a beacon of Catholic education excellence in Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties and beyond,” Hoffa wrote in a letter to the school community. “Over the next year you will hear me use three words as a road map for our success: excellence, consistency and urgency.” Father Hoffa was ordained in 2009 and has spent a significant amount of his priestly life in high school ministry. For seven years, he was chaplain of Allentown Central Catholic High School and Director of Campus Ministry. As a member of the Marian Board, he served as Chairman of the Enrollment and Marketing Committee. He is also the lead pastor of St. Jerome Regional School in Rush Township.
Thank you, Jean, for your leadership
She’s stepping down as Principal of Marian Catholic High School, but Jean Susko is not leaving us. Jean will be a key part of the administration transition taking place at Marian, as she will assume the role of Director of Studies, a post handled by Teresa Sheer until her recent retirement. We’d like to thank Jean for her devoted service to Marian in the past, and for her four years of leadership and dedication to Marian. We look forward to her continued service in helping to provide excellence in education for MCHS students. Jean came to Marian at the start of the 2016-17 school year and brought great credentials to Hometown, having been the Assistant Principal at Catasauqua Area High School. Her wealth of experience also includes serving as a teacher and middle school principal. She holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Cedar Crest College in Allentown; a master’s degree in secondary mathematics education from Kutztown University; and elementary and secondary principal certification from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, all of which we’re sure will be put to good use in helping to guide the Marian curriculum. Good luck Jean, and thank you, immensely!
When the Rev. Allen Hoffa, Marian’s new “Head of School” held a recent meeting with Marian alumni via the now popular “Zoom” program, the question about the role of alumni was raised more than once. Father Hoffa was clearly focused on that particular issue, noting his hope would be that graduates of Marian, whom he described as being “all those who have walked the hallowed halls of Marian,” become stewards of the school who, among other things, would help spread the word about the valuable, Christ-centered education they received here, and, more importantly, what it would do for the young men and women of the up-and-coming generation. After all, he said, “Communication is the lifeblood of any organization,” which prompted me to think, “We have a story to tell.”
When we launched our “reactivation” of the Marian Catholic High School Alumni Association last year, we said our objective would be three-fold: 1) to make the association a legitimate organization whose resources would be a valuable tool in helping to promote MCHS, not only through revenue, but as a liaison between alumni and advancement for potential benevolence; 2) to raise funds that would go directly to MCHS to be used for tuition assistance, facility improvements and public relations/ promotions; and 3) to let our graduates know what is happening at Marian and establish a network of members who would be willing to correspond/communicate with current MCHS students and families regarding career choices.
I was personally happy all of those objectives rang the bell, so to speak, as Father Hoffa and participants on the call spoke passionately about their willingness to play a role in meeting those objectives. From offering to come back to MCHS to speak to the students in a Career Day program, to helping with a program where students have a prospective career path and get matched up with an alumni as a mentor, to even sponsoring a student to attend Marian who cannot do so because of economics, the ideas shared that evening were consistent with our stated objectives, but, moreso, they provided me and others great optimism that we are undoubtedly on the right track.
Having Fr. Hoffa is a bonus to our mission. When he first came to the region as the new administrator, and eventually pastor, of St. Joseph Catholic Church of the Panther Valley, Summit Hill, he spoke candidly about both St. Jerome Regional School, Tamaqua, and Marian, extolling the virtues of Catholic education. I remember him saying parents who desire a Catholic education for their child(ren) but believe the cost is prohibitive, should “come and talk to me.” A few years later, his mentality is not only steadfast on this subject, but he is insistent upon making sure families seeking the opportunity of a Catholic education get the chance to see how that opportunity can become a reality.
As Alumni Association members, we have unlimited roles. There are always tasks that can be done around the school; a nominal $10.00 annual membership fee can equate to tens of thousands of dollars that can help Marian with expenses that its annual budget cannot otherwise afford; and, most importantly, we have a wonderful chance to be a part of a family atmosphere that parents would love to see their children educated in.
I hope you are willing to join us in being stewards of Catholic education. After all, the story is a good one; the product “sell-able.” MCHS provides a Christ-centered education in a family atmosphere. It’s a quality education where our children are challenged to be the best they can be academically and athletically. Our curriculum, including a state-of-the-art STEM program, prepares Marian students for college entrance, and 95-plus percent of our graduates move on to the finest colleges and universities in the country with offers of millions of dollars annually for the graduating class.
In what I thought was one of the most important items Father Hoffa discussed, he talked about the recent hiring of a Director of Enrollment Management. He discussed tax credit programs available to parents who choose Marian, as well as other tuition assistance programs that parents need to know about. Then, similar to the position I heard him talk about in Summit Hill, the new “Head of the School” suggested to all parents: “Please give us the opportunity to sit down and talk to you (about your child attending Marian). Catholic education is possible and do-able for families.” As alumni, we have benefited from many sacrifices made by those who before us did many things to make Marian the school it is today. Now is our turn to give back. It doesn’t have to be in a big way, as often it’s the little bit of time, talent and treasure that is most meaningful. Collectively, we can do great things and accomplish our objectives, just like Father Hoffa is doing.
Coach Dakosty to be inducted into District 11 Hall of Fame and named Schuylkill Athletic Director of the Year
Congratulations are in order to Marian Catholic High School Head Football Coach Stan Dakosty for two recent honors he received. Stan was selected for induction into the District 11 Hall of Fame and then named Schuylkill County Athletic Director of the Year. His credentials for the HOF are indeed impeccable, being the winningest coach in District 11 history in terms of wins with 309. We’re actually looking forward to him adding to that number when the Colts open up play this Fall at Schuylkill Haven. His career record is 309-148-3 and Stan’s teams have won eight District 11 titles, six conference championships and the 1990 PIAA state crown. He has sent over 270 players onto play college football and many have gone into coaching football. Stan joins former Marian Fillie Diane Decker as MCHS inductees in the district HOF. A member of the Class of 1985, she is Marian’s all-time leading scorer in basketball with 2,377 points and went on to a prolific career at Villanova University.
#OurMarian Day of Caring was a great success!
Thank you for your generosity! In this unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with layoffs and the loss of jobs, many Marian parents experienced difficulties financially in their households, not the least of which are tuition payments. To help them and the school, the Advancement Office under the new and capable leadership of Kristine Evina, held a Day of Giving in May in which Marian supporters, and many alumni members, made generous donations to the school. Kristine reports an outstanding response, with $27,994 having been donated towards the program. Donate today at www.mariancatholichs.org/day-of-caring. Because together we can #ChangeTheirWorld!
We welcome our new Advancement Director
That friendly voice you hear when calling the Marian Advancement Office, formerly the Development Office, is Kristine Evina. Kristine comes to Marian with a great background in Advancement. More importantly, she brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to the job, and she is available to everyone for whatever your needs and/or inquiries might be. Kristine has been an ardent supporter of the Alumni Association and is willing to work with everyone — administration, faculty, students, parents, alumni and friends. Feel free to contact her firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-467-3335. When asked what she would like the alumni to know about her work in the Advancement Office, Kristine commented that she is, “Happy to help the alumni in any way.” She added that, “They (alumni) can call for reunion information, like class lists, venue options, tours of the school before or after the reunion, an alumni mass and a possible appearance of the COLT at the reunion.” These are just a few of the ways that she is available to assist the school’s alumni.
Class representatives welcomed and sought…
As we move forward with our second “revived” year of the Alumni Association, numerous graduates have agreed to help us by taking on roles as class representatives. The success of any organization is cooperation, communication and the ability to work together. In that respect, we sincerely welcome graduates who will be serving as representatives of their individual classes. A class representative will work with class lists to update information about their classmates. They will encourage classmates to join the association, welcome input from alumni and work with the association advancement office with regard to how their class or individual class members can help Marian.
The class representatives as of this newsletter include:
2019 Courtney Kovatch
2015 Gabriella Sacco
2009 Cortney Buchman
2006 Kelly Stauffer (co-2006: Kayla Gursky Heiser)
2005 Maria Bruni Schulz (co-2005: Ashley Rogers Securda)
2004 Angela Rutch Chromiak
2003 Patrick Boyle
2003 Erin O’Gurek
2002 Megan Majetsky
2001 Billy O’Gurek
2000 Alicia Pieracini
1999 Mike Bartholomew (co-1999: Rose Holland McGlone and Sheilann Weiker)
1998 Angela Strauss
1997 Tammy Long Chrin
1996 Jen Shober (co-1996: Gretchen Coles Stern and Kellie Hanrahan Giannelli)
1995 Magdalene Karpovich Riggins
1993 Maria Slog McGinley
1992 Tara McCarroll Stauffenberg
1991 Angela Bielen Meiss
1988 Margaret Zimmerman
1987 Pam Hosak Polakovic (co-1987: Kathy Reinhardt)
1986 Mary Dugan-Figura (co-1986: Paula (Anceravige) Kuczynski)
1985 Theresa Scatton Bruno (co-1985: Sue Anceravige Morrison)
1983 Sharon Gillespie Choley (co-1983: Trish Spillman and Michael McCall)
1982 Chris Eroh
1979 Kathleen McCabe (co-1979: Lawrence Furey)
1977 Maureen Costello
1975 Joseph Cannon
1974 Cynthia Conroy Long
1973 Bill O’Gurek
1969 Elinor Potosky Dirnberger
1966 James Sauka (co-1966: Joseph Dougherty)
Meanwhile, we are looking for graduates to lead the classes where no representative has been sought. If you have volunteered to help as a representative of your class, and we somehow did not enter your name into this list, or if your class is not listed and you are willing to take the lead as its representative, please contact Tammy Long Chrin at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us in offering condolences to the families of the following:
Dorothy P. “Dottie” Bumbulsky, 49, of Ringtown, passed away April 29, 2020. She was a 1988 graduate of MCHS. She is survived by her companion, Michael Kaminsky; a daughter, Cortney Buchman, and her fiancé, Mark Scarcella; a son, Ryan Buchman; two brothers, Peter Bumbulsky, and his wife, Mary Jo, and Mark Bumbulsky, and his wife, Joan; and her stepfather, Joseph Sluzis.
Christopher M. Perhonitch, 40, of Lebanon, formerly of McAdoo, passed away May 2 due to a vehicle accident. Chris was a 1997 graduate of MCHS, where he was a standout basketball and football player, having been named Times News Player of the Year in the latter sport. He is survived by his wife, the former Alissa (Fegley) Perhonitch; his mother, Janet (Skotek) Perhonitch (wife of the late Nicholas Perhonitch); a son Jake; a daughter Addison; a brother Nicholas, and his wife, Carolyn, and his maternal grandmother, Vincenette Skotek. The Class of 1997 is currently working to establish a memorial scholarship in Christopher’s name. Memorial donations can be sent to Marian Catholic High School to assist in starting this memorial scholarship. The address is: 166 Marian Avenue; Tamaqua, PA 18252.
Susan T. Roman, 68, of Pottsville, passed away May 4. Susan was a 1969 graduate of MCHS. She is survived by two sisters, Ruth, wife of Mike Bronder, and Renee, wife of Vic Semick; and a brother, Edward J. Roman.
John T. Turnbach, 65, of Los Gatos,CA, formerly of Jim Thorpe, passed away May 6 in San Jose, CA, after a battle with Covid-19. John was a member of the Class of 1973 of MCHS. He is survived by his longtime companion, Nikki Wong; two sons, Paul Turnbach, and his and wife, Rebecca, and Chris Chikes; three sisters, Anne, wife of Tom Moyer, Peggy, wife of Bruce Shanfelt, and Kathy, widow of Dennis Gallagher; and a brother, Bob Turnbach, and wife, Lori.
Ruth E. Yurchak, 60, of Summit Hill, passed away May 3, 2020. She was the wife of Wayne Yurchak, a member of the Class of 1973 of MCHS. She is also survived by a son Daniel; a daughter Holly; two brothers, Dennis Zehner, and his wife, Darlene, and Thomas Zehner; and a sister Joyce.
Membership renewals anticipated
We are currently working on sending to all Marian graduates the membership renewal letter. Please watch for our mailing, which will come later this month. Remember, a nominal $10.00 annual membership fee collectively will help us to raise thousands of dollars for the school. Your participation is appreciated. Help us help Marian to continue to be the great school that it is!
We’d love to hear from you!
Whether it’s a job promotion, family addition, honors or special occasion — we invite you to share it with us. We will gladly post it on our Facebook page for our followers, and would include any request in our upcoming newsletters. Email us at email@example.com or send it directly to the Advancement Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to share the great news about our Marian family members. Keep up on all school new by visiting our school’s website at mariancatholichs.org.
We look forward to hearing from you!