Sheree McConnell- Class of 2023 Inductee

Sheree McConnell

Class of 1973

Sheree's interest in learning stems from her childhood years she spent with her grandmother and has continued throughout her lifetime.  During her years at Rice Avenue Union High School she was a member of student council, UGA, Future Teachers of America, the Y-Teens, and was a class officer. She was in chorus and was a varsity cheerleader for football and basketball. Along with being involved in many school activities, she remained academically motivated. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was the valedictorian of her graduating class in 1973. She is grateful for the education she received and the many worthwhile opportunities she experienced.

After graduating from high school Sheree attended the main campus of Penn State for a year. She then transferred to Edinboro State College to major in education. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1981. Upon graduation, Sheree was hired by the Intermediate Unit as a part-time gifted-education teacher at Rice Avenue Middle School. She then transferred to Elk Valley as a Title I math and reading teacher. Hired next by the Girard School District, she taught first grade for about 10 years, and then moved to a fourth-grade position. While teaching at Elk Valley Sheree earned her master's degree from Gannon College, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1985. She then moved to 5th grade where she taught until her retirement in 2017. However, she was not finished with teaching. That fall she returned to the classroom through AmeriCorps, where she spent 4 more years at RAMS tutoring students in reading and math. AmeriCorps members are also responsible for completing service projects. Sheree's projects included organizing an after-school homework-help program, the RAMS food pantry, holiday packages for senior citizens in the community, personal care packages for the homeless, a clothing drive that collected over 350 pounds of clothing and helped with Veteran's Day and other school celebrations.

Teaching did not just happen out of a book in Sheree's classroom. Students experienced science lessons through "hands on" learning. Mealworms, chemical reactions, and experiments with raw eggs dropped from the roof of Elk Valley were part of science. Wax museums and week-long Civil War activities brought history and social studies to life. Sheree invited speakers to come into the classroom and arranged field trips for first hand experiences. She was granted permission to run an off-site Buhl Planetarium Space Camp at Elk Valley. About 20 third and fourth grade students learned about the life of an astronaut. They also built and launched rockets. Sheree was awarded two different United Way Grants that benefited the Shriner's Children's Hospital. Being involved in the Girard School Drama program as the choreographer for the past 12 years for both the high school and middle school plays has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience for her. Sheree feels honored when former students mention activities they did in her classroom, but her greatest reward is when they tell her that she was influential in their choice of college studies or career paths.

Sheree lives in Girard while her son, Thom, currently resides in New Orleans Her son, John, is deceased. She enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, instructing exercise classes, and a good book. She greatly appreciates the recognition this award brings.

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