Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation adds 2 board members

September 1, 2018
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Maria Graziano-Bickerstaff

Two Greater Latrobe School District alumni have joined the board of a local foundation that provides funding and resources to help support the district, its programs and students.

Maria Graziano-Bickerstaff, a member of the Class of 2011, and Richard Okonak, a 1997 graduate, have been named to the board of the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation.

Following in the footsteps of her father, uncle and grandfather, Graziano-Bickerstaff is a funeral director at Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home. She helps manage, update and create content for the funeral home’s website, Facebook page and marketing campaigns. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Saint Vincent College and an associate in specialized technology degree from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.

A Latrobe native, Okonak is the vice president, secretary and a trustee of the local McFeely-Rogers Foundation. He has worked in the information technology and mortgage banking industries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Penn State University.

“GLPIEF provides opportunities for our Greater Latrobe students, teachers, school district, and our community,” Okonak said. “I very much look forward to being a part of GLPIEF and to continue the GLPIEF’s mission into the future.”

Drawing upon the Dr. and Mrs. William D. Stavisky Fund and Celebrate Innovation funding, GLPIEF annually awards mini-grants to support innovative programs developed by Greater Latrobe faculty members. Items funded this year included music technology equipment for the junior high and various materials for instruction in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Funds provided through the McFeely-Rogers Foundation have supported student scholarships for local art workshops and a summer science and math camp at the University of Pittsburgh. The third annual GOAL Magazine Golf Outing, held May 4 at Ligonier Country Club, raised $21,000 that GLPIEF will use to benefit district children with special needs.

The GLPIEF board includes parents, alumni and civic and business leaders. Board officers are President Julie Jones, Vice President Robert Demangone, Treasurer Keith Visconti and Secretary Jessica Urbanik. Other board members include David Arnold, Dana Marcinko, Pam Mt. Joy, Bradley Smith, Dottie Staffen, Lester Sutton, Maryann Helfferich, school board representative Heidi Kozar and district Superintendent Judith Swigart.

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