April 30, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU elementary education graduate makes it a 'family dozen'
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Amanda Patz, a Slippery Rock University graduating senior in elementary education, was always teased by her mother that "the education bug skipped me and landed in you," she said while pointing out she is the 12th member of her extended family to earn an SRU education degree.
Patz, from DuBois, will join 1,222 fellow graduates in two Morrow Field House commencement ceremonies May 8. Patz's graduation is at 2 p.m.
She is wrapping up her student teaching work with fifth-graders this week at Emily Brittain Elementary School, part of the Butler Area School District.
"I'm ready to start teaching," Patz said. Her ideal job would be at her home school district.
Neither her mother, Sharon McGregor, nor her late father, Dale Patz, chose education professions, but great grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all teachers. "Right now my younger brother, who is still in high school, is looking toward becoming a history or social studies teacher. Her older brothers and sisters chose other professions, she said, including work as a nurse, chef, electrician and social worker.
"My mother was the baby of the family and she moved north to become an intensive care nurse at a hospital in DuBois. She is still there. I always had the desire to teach," she said. "If I don't land a teaching job in my hometown, I hope there is an opening in Butler, where I have lots of relatives," she said.
In looking at her family's SRU alumni tree, Patz points to B. George Elliott, her great-grandfather, who graduated in 1904 in what as then the Slippery Rock Normal School. He taught at Butler High School. In addition her great-grandmother, Margaret Laing Elliott, her great-great-aunts Olive Laing Crawford, who was Presbyterian missionary in India, and Pearl Elliott, who taught at Blossvale, N.Y., all graduated from the normal school in 1907.
The institution changed names to Slippery Rock State College and next came Patz's grandmother, Helen Elliott McGregor, who taught at Moniteau and Knoch high schools, followed by an aunt Bonnie McGregor Cieselski, who taught at New Kennington Schools, and John Cielselski, an uncle who taught at Plumb Boro and Woodland Hills high schools, after graduating in 1963. Her uncle, John Prokopchak, who taught in the Butler Area School District, graduated in 1966, an aunt, Jane McGregor Prokopckak, attended SRU, and another aunt, Virginia McGregor Stadler, who also taught at Moniteau, graduated in 1969.
Great-uncle Alvin Elliott, who went on to be a high school principal and district superintendent, and great-aunt Mildred Varnum Elliott, who taught at Monaca schools, were both graduates in the 1930s and part of Patz's SRU-family tree.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.