Katie Dotterer-Pyle: My husband and I branched out and started our own dairy farm, Cow Comfort Inn Dairy, in 2009, so I feel that the Business Management course helped me tremendously, since I now manage people, and (800) cows! The marketing courses were my favorite though. I use my marketing skills constantly, especially social media marketing, where we use the hashtag #AskAFarmerNotGoogle.
Besides the dairy farm, I have started other businesses, and the skills I learned through the BAMM program have helped with getting those businesses up and running and with marketing. I started and created and currently instruct a two level 8-week online Spanish course called, Spanish on La Granja (on the farm) which I designed and tailored specifically to the dairy industry due to the fact that 80% of the labor force are Spanish-speaking. It is essential to be bilingual in order to communicate effectively and I wanted to help other farm owners and industry professionals do just that. We also just launched a mobile ice cream trailer, Cow Comfort Creamery, in the beginning of April and I also started and operate an online merchandise retail store; another marketing tool I use for all the above businesses.
Katie: One of the things that sticks out to me the most, being a business owner, is the importance of offering services, rather than just a product to customers. Another thing that was emphasized at South Hills is how to treat employees. I am a people-person, and feel that it is important to make everyone feel valued and included.
Katie: To be successful in the BAMM program, I would say you need to be disciplined and a self-starter. I would also say it is a plus to be a people-person.
Katie: Personable, valuable, and caring. The faculty and staff really cared about the students, and it showed. Personally, I had great experiences with Mike Gates, BAMM Program Coordinator/Instructor, and Sue Vidmar, who is now the Director of Education and was an instructor when I was a student. They were always available to talk to when I needed something.
Katie: I think it’s very valuable for instructors to have experience working in their chosen professions, as I would much rather learn from someone who has actually worked in or owned a business. The type of information that you receive from the instructors is something that you wouldn’t be able to find by reading a textbook.
Katie: I feel that a lot of people overlook two-year schools. There aren’t any “fluff” courses at South Hills, and you get right into learning what you’re actually there for and interested in. I myself wasn’t much of a school person, but I went to gain knowledge to be able to help run our family business, and not having all of those extra courses was very helpful.
Katie: One piece of advice I would give is don’t be afraid to ask questions, and to make sure you fully understand the material you’re learning. Another thing is, don’t be afraid to meet new people!
Kari Schlegel was born in March 1992 and graduated from South Hills in September 2012.
The Kari Lynn Schlegel Memorial Gallery is named in memory of Kari Schlegel, a lifelong Bellefonte resident and 2012 graduate of the Graphic Arts program at South Hills.
Kari was often the exclamation point in any story about the Class of 2012. Her effervescent good mood, enthusiasm, and seemingly endless supply of optimism and positive spirit was infusive, lighting up the classroom.
Kari (right) is shown with her beloved sister, Mindy.
Her classmates still laugh at the memory of Kari wearing her bunny slippers on the Graphic Arts field trip to New York City. Groan-worthy puns and jokes? Kari had a volume of them. She delighted in sharing stories and photos of her four beloved cats as well as trivia and tales of Harry Potter and Disney World. She was a rare combination of innocence, maturity, trust, and hope. She was filled with a joy of life and an unconditional love for her friends, her family, her pets… and people she just met. That was Kari Schlegel.
Kari dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow for the South Hills “BooFest” Halloween party in 2012.
She loved her school, even coming back to audit several GA classes after graduating. Kari also particularly enjoyed returning to South Hills every summer to perform as part of the Music Picnic Series with the Bellefonte Community Band.
Kari died December 15, 2016, in a tragic automobile accident. It’s a loss everyone who knew her still feels. In the end, Kari truly lived her life with passion and joy, treating others as she wanted to be treated: with love, compassion, and respect.