The Mount Union Area School Board bid farewell to one of its own members Monday night and heard from administrators on plans for the Class of 2020’s remaining milestones.
Region 2 representative Sylvia Morris submitted her letter of resignation Monday, citing relocation as impetus for her withdrawal from the board. Morris was elected to a four-year term in the November 2017 election and was sworn in that December, succeeding the late Jane Wagner.
In her letter to colleagues, Morris said her departure is a disappointment but that she views her time with the Mount Union board as a “privilege and honor.”
“I have tried to serve with dignity and integrity,” she wrote. “I am particularly honored as the first Black American to be sworn in as a Mount Union school board director. It is my desire that more young men and women of color will take an active role in their community and serve.”
Morris said in her two-plus years on the board, the district has seen major changes and the board has faced touch choices, noting she believes all are “in the best interests of our students, our staff, our community and our taxpayers.”
She also wished all district officials “God speed as you move ahead in the challenges and in particular the present challenge that COVID-19 has brought.”
Board members and administrators thanked Morris for her time and efforts while serving the district.
“You will be missed and it’s been a pleasure serving with you,” board member Andrea Christoff said.
“You’ve always been open and willing to listen and have the best interests of our students at heart,” board member Brandee Dodd.
Superintendent Dr. Amy Smith said that serving on a school board takes a lot of time and effort.
“We appreciate the effort you put into the board,” Smith said.
Morris, who attended Monday’s meeting, held via Zoom, again stressed that serving on the board is a valuable opportunity and urged persons who are interested to seek out that opportunity.
She thanked colleagues for their professionalism and thanked the voters for their confidence.
The district’s Region 2 covers Mount Union Borough; Morris represented the region alongside Andrew Ketner and Carol Jackson.
Mount Union Area High School’s juniors and seniors will get a prom after all, at the end of next month.
Administrators, including senior high school principal Maurine Hockenberry were weighing a variety of options this spring, amid restrictions on large gatherings in the wake-of COVID-19.
The prom will take place at the Lake Raystown Report, as originally planned, from 5-10 p.m. Friday, July 31. The resort was initially booked to host Mount Union students May 23.
In light of the success of the diploma ceremony held May 29 for the 87 graduating Trojans, plus the COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Mount Union Area High School will not host a second graduation ceremony, Hockenberry announced.
During the May workshop session, district officials discussed the possibility of holding a more traditional commencement ceremony during the summer, as a follow-up to the drive-through diploma ceremony.
Hockenberry reported Monday that the district has received positive feedback about the May 29 event, held in the high school parking lot. Although the ceremony looked much different than previous years, the district put as many familiar customs in place as possible. Students donned their caps and gowns, administrators wore their ceremonial gowns. A professional photographer was on hand, as were professional floral arrangements.
Hockenberry said at present, gatherings are restricted to 250 people. If the high school wre to go away with a traditional ceremony, each graduating senior would be permitted only two to three guests each, in order to meet the guidelines.
Under current restrictions, the ratio of graduates to guests would be less than what students were afforded during the May 29 event, Hockenberry said, noting each student was allowed an escort of two vehicles.