by Joan Andrews
South Hills Public Relations Specialist
STATE COLLEGE — The State College and Altoona campuses of South Hills School of Business & Technology held their commencement ceremony on June 23, 2016 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College.
Loud cheers of congratulations came from the gathering of over 1,000 friends and family members who were in attendance to applaud the graduates’ hard work and educational achievements.
In his message Paul Mazza III, president of South Hills, stated, “Every human life, from the moment of conception, comes pre-packaged with dignity, purpose and value. When we enter into the wider world, forces from within and without, work to either build these up or tear them down.” Mazza continued by encouraging the graduates to practice one of the timeless principles in life, and that is to be a blessing to others in their new workplace.
Pamela A. Keebler of Roanoke, VA, a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Professional Plus graduate, was the recipient of several awards and guest speaker for the Class of 2016. Keebler echoed the words of Paul Mazza by inspiring her classmates to make a difference in the lives of others as they step out into their new careers. “Don’t ever underestimate the positive difference you can make in someone’s life. Whether it’s a patient who is afraid, a company whose employees look to you for guidance, or a client whose finances need to be straightened out – we all have super powers, and it doesn’t take much to be someone’s hero.”
Recipient of the JoAnn Bonfatto Memorial Award was Curisa J. Ertwine of Lock Haven, PA. This award is given to a South Hills graduate who exhibits outstanding enthusiasm, initiative, dependability, and a willingness to help others.
Pam Keebler was presented with The Founder’s Award which is given to a graduating student who exemplified the core values of South Hills’ founder, S. Paul Mazza II: kindness to others, integrity, school involvement, and strong academic standing.
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.