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South Hills Instructors Win Major Award 6 Times in 7 Years

This photo shows three South Hills instructors holding awards

(l-r) South Hills instructors Mark Gentzel, Matthew Penning, and Guido Santella

by Jodie LeMaster
South Hills Webmaster

South Hills School of Business & Technology is proud to announce instructor, Mark Gentzel, shown above left, has been named the 2015 PAPSA Outstanding Educator of the Year award. He was honored at the 67th annual Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators (PAPSA) conference held on July 23 in Cranberry, PA.

Mr. Gentzel teaches English classes at the State College main campus and is the third South Hills instructor to receive this award in as many years.

Last year, the Outstanding Educator of the Year award was given to Information Technology Program Coordinator, Matthew Penning, shown above center. He teaches technology courses at our Lewistown campus.

And in 2013, Information Technology instructor, Guido Santella, was named the winner of the prestigious award. Santella, shown above right, teaches technology courses at our Altoona campus.

This isn’t South Hills’ first “three-peat”—our instructors have won this award 6 of the 7 past years! In 2009, it was awarded to Engineering Technology instructor Gary Powers; in 2010, the then-head of our English department Pam Ferguson received the honor; and in 2011, Business Administration—Management & Marketing Program Coordinator, Mike Gates, was named the recipient.

PAPSA represents the more than 320 private career colleges and schools in the Commonwealth before the legislature, state agencies, and professional associations. With over 150 school members, PAPSA acts as the unified voice of quality career school education. The PAPSA Outstanding Educator of the Year award is given to educators whose techniques and innovations best respond to the needs of students in vocational training.



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Kari Lynn Schlegel

March 4, 1992—December 15, 2016

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.