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Whitehall-Coplay School District teachers, staff retire

In any year besides 2020, Whitehall-Coplay School District would have honored its retirees with a special luncheon at the now-closed Bravo Italian Kitchen. School board members and administrators are in attendance, and each administrator or supervisor normally speaks about every retiree’s accomplishments and future plans, sharing anecdotes and memories.

According to WCSD Superintendent Dr. Lorie Hackett, the luncheon is a “heartfelt, sometimes bittersweet” way to say farewell to those who have dedicated their lives to serving the district.

This year’s retirees were able to participate in one tradition by selecting several book titles that are dedicated to the schools’ libraries with their name and years of service. WCSD encourages them to come back and visit the schools for special events, such as concerts, plays and sporting activities.

“We truly missed honoring our retirees with the luncheon this year but will remember all they’ve contributed to our Whitehall educational system and sincerely wish them a wonderful retirement,” Hackett said.

Retiring educators include Kevin Gavalla, math, 14 years; Richard Gierula, health and physical education, 29 years; Kathy Hassick, reading specialist, 25 years; Elizabeth Hawk, second grade, 32 years; Jean Marsteller, Spanish, 39 years; Richard LaDuke, guidance counselor, 30 years; Tina Theime, first grade, 33 years; and Laurie Farver, inclusion, 32 years.

Carol Strohe, health and physical education teacher, retired after 25 years. Shortly after retiring, Strohe died Nov. 30, 2019.

“Carol Strohe was a dedicated teacher and a wonderful human being. Even during her most difficult days, she came to work with a smile and served her students well,” Whitehall-Coplay Middle School Principal Angela Friebolin said. “She is missed every day.”

Paraeducators retiring include Carol Morgan, 23 years; Mary Ellen Oroskey, health room, 18 years; Lori Jo Rassler, 12 years; and Julie Beck, 19 years.

Owen Eberhart, school board member, retired after 26 years.

Donna Heck, bus driver, retired after eight years. She died July 28.

Other WCSD staff include Brian Hartman, maintenance, 26 years; Edward Jordan, bus driver, 14 years; Elizabeth Lutz; bus driver, 24 years; Joseph Braun, bus driver, 10 years; Don Steager, bus driver, seven years; Christine Wolfer, bus aide, five years; Lisa Rex, library secretary, 24 years; Deb Vilbas, principal’s secretary, 29 years; Judy Mohr, food service worker, 29 years; and Lora Luchansky, school nurse, 26 years.