by Lori Falce
Centre Daily Times
The following article was the “Education” feature on Centre Daily Times on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016.
STATE COLLEGE — For some people joining the military, the service is a lifelong career.
For others, it is the first step on a road that will lead them to a new career.
Some of those journeys wind through South Hills School of Business and Technology.
Christiana Jenkins, 24, is from Maryland. For four years, she was in the Navy, launching and recovering aircraft on the USS Ronald Reagan.
Today, she is in State College, learning diagnostic medical sonography.
“It’s two totally different worlds,” she said.
Kara Stoner, 24, is a New Hampshire native. She met her husband in the Army, and that’s how she came back to his home in Centre Hall.
After three years serving with the military police, she is now pursuing health information technology.
“Ultimately, I wanted to go back for my family and my son,” she said. Her little boy will be 2 in December.
Brian Fayman, 26, is still in the service. Also an MP, he serves in the Marine reserves.
“I wanted to further my education, present more job opportunities. Most jobs, you need some type of a degree,” he said.
Fayman said he had a “lack of desire” to pursue a degree after high school.
“I wasn’t ready personally. I had to grow up a little bit to want to go to school,” he said. Now he intends to finish his degree in September before getting a job and going back for his bachelors degree.
Jenkins tried school, but found college wasn’t her path. She needed the structure of the military. It was the Navy that showed her she could do more with an education.
“I knew that I had the mental capability of studying for a program like that,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to be able to use my brain and my knowledge. I’m a problem solver.”
She encourages other veterans to take advantage of the educational benefits they have after service.
“Every chance I can, I encourage people to go back,” she said. “To not take advantage of the benefits is just doing damage. It’s free college. It’s 100 percent worth it.”
Photo by Joan Andrews, Public Relations Specialist at South Hills School of Business & Technology
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.