Thirteen years ago Monday marked the day that Master Sgt. Thomas Maholic was killed in Afghanistan — a date his family will never forget.
During the Bradford Area School District board meeting Monday, the Maholic family learned the date they lost their beloved son and brother serving his country also will never be forgotten by the high school Criminal Justice Club, which presented the family with a plaque in his honor.
During a presentation to the board about their recent four-day trip to Washington, D.C., the board heard from club advisor Hiel “Butch” Bartlett and assistant advisor Matt Gustin about the efforts the group made to visit Maholic’s grave and place flowers on it in Arlington National Cemetery. The group also has placed flowers on Maholic’s grave in the past. This year, the group also made a plaque in honor of Maholic which was presented to Maholic’s family.
“This was all done within the school at the carpentry shop,” Gustin told the audience. As the plaque was presented to the family, the audience gave a huge round of applause to the grateful family seen fighting back tears.
“Please know that we will never forget,” Bartlett told the family. “Everytime we go to Washington, D.C. we will put carnations” on the grave in honor of Maholic. The family and audience then heard an official report of Maholic’s heroic feat in Ghecko, Afghanistan, that resulted in his death on June 24, 2006. Maholic, 38, a Special Forces team sergeant, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous Gallantry in Action in Afghanistan, among other awards and honors for saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. A video of the club members at Maholic’s grave was also shown during the event.
Touched by the youngsters’ acts, Dorothy Maholic said to the group, “You kids couldn’t have possibly known Thom, and to do this is so” kind.
Bartlett then remarked, “If it wasn’t for him, and people like him, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have.”
Gustin said the group also made a second plaque of Maholic which will be presented to the Bradford American Legion Post 108.
Following the presentation, the club members were praised by both board members and others for giving a wonderful presentation.
The board next heard from Dana Mollander of the Nutrition Group for the school district. Mollander said the free breakfast and lunch program through the Community Eligibility Program for all children in the school district has been “going very well.”
She said there were 1,000 breakfasts and 1,050 lunches served district wide throughout the year. She noted the high school had a little lower participation with 61 percent, with 81 percent of the youngest children at George G. Blaisdell Elementary School participating. Mollander said the district will try rolling out new, colorful signage and banners next school year, as well home-style recipes to encourage even more participation among students next year.
Following her presentation, Judy Bodamer, director of finance, reminded the audience that the summer lunch program is currently in effect at the high school site and all children through the age of 18 are welcome to participate.
The board also heard a presentation from the Environthon Team lead by teacher Jan Russell and the Conservation District Representatives. The team placed fourth out of 65 teams in state competition this year.
In other business, the board approved the 2019-2020 school district budget of $42,073,887 which represents no tax increase; and approved the following banks as 2019-2020 repositories for district funds: County National Bank, Hamlin Bank, Northwest Savings Bank, Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust, and PNC Bank. It was noted that board member Vickie Baker abstained in the vote on banks.
In personnel matters for teachers, the board accepted the resignation of Marty Cummins, pre-kindergarten teacher at GGB after 14 years of service. The board approved the employment of Nicholas McElhinney, second-grade teacher at GGB at a salary of $41,128, effective Aug. 29; approved the hiring of Linnea Pollock, pre-kindergarten teacher at GGB at a salary of $41,128, effective Aug. 29; and approved the hiring of Shelby Runyan, computer applications teacher at Floyd C. Fretz Middle School at a salary of $42,678, effective Aug. 20.
In her report, Superintendent Katharine Pude said the 21st Century Grant was approved for the elementary and middle school after-school programs next year; and summer school sessions have started throughout the district.