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Challenge Accepted! College Wins Community Cup, Helps Raise $17,000 for Salvation Army


The Salvation Army of Williamsport will receive about $17,000 to be used for essential services to local families, thanks to Saturday’s Community Challenge.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s commitment to the event resulted in the college winning the Community Cup, a traveling trophy presented to the organization with the greatest participation. Penn College logged 30 registered guests and 22 volunteers, including students enrolled in the Community and Organizational Change course and a number of student-athletes. The Penn College cross-country team served as an event sponsor.

“The volunteers from the human services program and athletics were incredible and helped to make a very special event,” said Michael J. Reed, dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications, who serves as vice chairman of the local Salvation Army Board of Directors.

Celebrating Penn College’s receipt of the Community Cup with Reed (center), are 10K runners (from left): Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management/associate provost; Kimberly R. Cassel, director of alumni relations; Hillary E. Hofstrom, associate vice president for human resources; and Patrick Marty, vice president for college relations.
Celebrating Penn College’s receipt of the Community Cup with Reed (center), are 10K runners (from left): Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management/associate provost; Kimberly R. Cassel, director of alumni relations; Hillary E. Hofstrom, associate vice president for human resources; and Patrick Marty, vice president for college relations.

Despite chilly November weather, the event was a rousing success with 262 competitors showing up by 10 a.m. on Veterans Day to tackle three courses on the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority’s watershed property outside DuBoistown. The courses included a relatively flat and scenic 5K run through Shuler Woods, a 10K of single- and double-track trails through rolling hills, and a challenging half-marathon that took participants over two mountains climbing nearly 2,000 feet on rugged single-track trails.

Habalar crosses the finish line – first in her age group in the 10K.
Habalar crosses the finish line – first in her age group in the 10K.

Penn College runners achieved strong finishes, including first-place honors in their age groups for Dawn E. Murafka in the 5K, Tushanna M. Habalar in the 10K, and Brad L. Nason in the half-marathon. Murafka and Habalar are nursing instructors; Nason is an associate professor of mass communications. Also logging participation were employees’ family members, students and alumni.

Among the Penn College family joining the event is Tyce Shaner, son of Institutional Advancement's Becky J. Shaner.
Among the Penn College family joining the event is Tyce Shaner, son of Institutional Advancement’s Becky J. Shaner.

Reed also applauded four other Penn College employees who worked tirelessly behind the scenes: “Special thanks go to Sarah Patterson, Megan Ripka, Rob Cooley and Carlos Ramos! Megan and Sarah ‘swept’ the course, meaning they followed the last participant to make sure no one was lost or left behind. In addition, Megan and Sarah pulled the ribbons out of the trees and cleaned any trash that was inadvertently dropped. It was a long, thankless and essential job trekking 13.5 miles carrying bags of trash, cones, etc. They had smiles on their faces and helped to keep everyone moving along and routinely communicated back to base. Rob and Carlos were on bikes all day, monitoring trails to make sure all participants were OK. They logged well over 20 miles up and over two mountains – a very cold day to be on bikes!”

An aerial view shows runners bundled up and starting out.
An aerial view shows runners bundled up and starting out.

The Community Challenge raises funds to support the local Salvation Army’s tutoring, mentoring, food distribution, and financial planning and budgeting courses. In addition, proceeds will be used to help families provide a gift for their children at Christmas.

This is the second year Penn College students in the Community and Organizational Change course have devoted their time and expertise to the initiative.

“I like the engagement in learning in the classroom as well as in the community,” said Melissa “Missy” H. Robey, a junior in applied human services from Williamsport. “This project creates connections to a learning experience outside the classroom and makes a positive impact on the local community. A highlight of the course was attending a board meeting to learn about organizational structure and planning.”

A lineup of gorgeous trophies crafted by Penn College ceramics instructors
A lineup of gorgeous trophies crafted by Penn College ceramics instructors

Penn College ceramics instructors David A. and Deborah L. Stabley crafted Community Challenge race awards in the form of ceramic trophies and holiday ornaments.

To learn more about Penn College’s human services major, call 570-327-4521.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Photos by Shannon Allison Photography, volunteer & veteran

Comments

Tushanna Habalar,

This is a fantastic community event. The organization of the event by Mike Reed and his class was impeccable. The volunteers were happy and supportive! The trails are beautiful. The gals who trail-swept did a fantastic service to the race! We are so fortunate to live, work and recreate in Lycoming County!

Rose Mumbauer,

Great event! Proud to have been a participant in the half-marathon and proud PCT alumni.

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