Grant gives local school district a high school counselor

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

If the Greencastle-Antrim School District budget allowed, high school principal Ed Rife would like another counselor to help the two on staff meet the needs of the 970 students. Another solution surfaced just after school ended in June, he told the school board on Aug. 4.

A program without funding when he investigated it two years ago now had money, and Greencastle was selected to participate in the National College Advising Corps - Keystone Region. Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster partnered with other area colleges, with federal funding, to provide counselors to high schools to increase college attendance rates. Most schools qualified based on economic indicators, but G-AHS was chosen because of its counselor to student ratio. Tuscarora and Chambersburg already are part of the program.

Gilbert Bonafe Jr., a graduate of Dickinson College, will move to Greencastle for two years to work with seniors. He will provide one on one financial aid advising, SAT preparation, campus visits, career presentations, FAFSA help for parents, guidance on college admission essays, and determining a post-graduation plan for each student. Eventually he will work with juniors on college applications and similar matters. If the grant continues, he may stay in town for additional years.

The Corps started in 2004 with money put up by Jack Kent Cook, former owner of the Redskins. Other sources followed, including a partnership with Lenfest. It now is present in 219 high schools.

“It was an answer to prayer when I got the phone call,” said Rife. “There is no cost to the district, only to provide office space.”

The other counselors, Jenniffer Everetts and Diane Reed, will continue to focus on the developmental needs of the students.

Personnel

Changes in teaching staff were approved by board members Joel Fridgen, Melinda Cordell, Howard Ritchey, Mike Shindle, Kristy Faulkner, William Thorne, Paul Politis and Eric Holtzman. Brian Hissong was absent.

New to the staff are: Michael Conner Jr., high school math long-term sub; Clark Flohr, high school learning support; Laura Oslik, high school biology; Michael Rhine, high school math; Elizabeth Suwala, high school learning support, contingent on passing the English and biology PA Praxis tests by the end of the school year; and Emily Trace, primary teacher.

The resignation of sixth grade teacher Kristin Koch was accepted, and John Root was transferred from elementary teacher to K-4 computer instructor.

In other business the board accepted $136,200 of Accountability Grant funds. Superintendent Dr. C. Gregory Hoover said the money would be used for kindergarten programs, and the district would not have to draw from the regular fund balance.