• Inspired Thoughts

    What inspired you while attending Shamokin Area High School?  Was it a teacher, fellow student or an event?  We all have many worthwhile experiences to share.  If you would like to share your thoughts to inspire others, feel free to send information to John Clutcher.  Your note could be placed on the alumni website, put in a future newsletter or shared at our annual banquet.  Limit your entry to around 250 words. The Alumni Association reserves the right to edit entries based upon content and length.  Include your name and year of graduation, which would be shared publically with the entry.

    John Clutcher '74



    Dolores A. Fenix Sapienza ‘51


    INSPIRATION came to me while attending Shamokin High School (1947-1951). MY life would not have been the same without the intellectual push I received at S. H. S. sixty-six years ago.


    My closest friend (who shall remain unnamed) was 5th Honor Student academically in our graduating class.  Only 1st to 5th were listed in the Commencement program.  Acknowledged as 8th in my class, I was “out in the cold.”


    However, I was noted in the program for my role as Editor-in-Chief of The High-Lighter, the student newspaper.


    Incidentally, the publication was printed in Kulpmont, PA.  Around publication time, I could skip classes, legally. (That, too, was inspirational to a young senior student.)


    But real inspiration came when I was accepted as a Journalism/Sociology major at Syracuse University, class of 1955. It was a way to show off my Journalism chops.


    Even more inspiring was my first job as a star-struck journalist at The Lancaster News.  On The New Era, the afternoon paper, was the prize-winning reporter, Jerry Sapienza.  I married him in 1958, the real inspiration of my life.


    I credit S. H. S., the faculty, and The High-Lighter for influencing my intellect and emotions.


    The late Jerry Sapienza became Press Secretary to Delaware Governor Russell W. Peterson.  His wife, Dolores Fenix Sapienza—me—completed her Master’s degree in 1977 in Community Education at Indiana University of PA and Doctoral Studies (CAGS) at Virginia Tech.  I retired from Delaware State University in 1996 as Vice President of Continuing Education.


    Lastly, after eight years as Innkeeper of the Old (1832) Farm House Bed and Breakfast (Rehoboth Beach, DE), I live on Rehoboth Bay with my 15-year-old, blind and deaf Shih Tzu/Poodle, “Fu Man Chu.”


    I have four adult children, 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.



    Thomas Donohue ‘51


    I opted for the vocational courses (Electric Shop) in high school.  My teacher, Stephen G. Kwartek, was a life altering person for me.  In 1950, he suggested I contact IBM for machine information so I could read up on their equipment and possibly gain employment after high school.  He gave me their address, 590 Madison Ave., NYC.  Who ever heard of IBM in Shamokin back then?


    I hand wrote a note on 5"x9" piece of paper and mailed it in.  Soon after, I received a letter stating that I had a draft commitment to the military and to contact IBM when that was satisfied.  In 1957, after 4 years in the Navy, I wrote to them.  I was asked to go to Philadelphia for an interview, all expenses paid.  WOW.  I was living in Lakehurst, NJ - 50 miles away.


    I went there, had an interview and was given a 150 question timed test.  I aced it, 149 out of 150 correct.  I was offered a job @ $82.50 per week.  I asked why not $80 or $85 and was told IBM had a 4 1/2 week month so this was $350 per month.  WOW, at that time.


    I retired 34 years later, 25 years ago.  As you can see, Steve Kwartek was a life altering person in my case.


    Frank Pincoski '68
    The event that inspired me most was when Coal Township High merged with Shamokin High.  I can remember singing our alma mater for the last time, and being a “Purple Demon” and then becoming a Shamokin Area High School “Indian".  This transition helped inspire me to accept change, grow, and achieve in a new environment.  While all the teachers at that time were good, I particularly enjoyed my Biology teacher, Mrs. Nancy Walker.  She knew how to bring out the best in her students, while thoroughly enjoying what she did.  While biology seemed easy to me, it definitely was hard work.  That showed me, however, that if you’re willing to work, persevere and do your best, you will be rewarded.  Thank you Mrs. Walker for not only teaching us, but for helping shape us into who we are today.


    Bruce B. Clutcher ‘72

    My tribute goes to retired HS band director and teacher, Larry Cooper.  Mr. Cooper left behind a legacy of more than a thousand kids (now adults) with musical appreciation, developing life skills as a result of what he taught through band.  It has been 40+ years since I stepped off the goal line playing Them Basses and Man of La Mancha but I remember it like yesterday.  I still grind my teeth at night to our 1972 parade cadence.  I tell the story to my three children (who all played in the HS band) how Mr. Cooper forced us into perfecting the half-time routine by whistling and making us go back to the beginning of the drill each time he saw one of us make a single mistake – oh, how sick we were of the first few measures! :-)  My kids and wife are tired of me reliving the human staircase drill we did to the Patton Theme song, having the blind gun throw to the gun captain on top of the stairs.  My high school highlight was winning the Ephrata Competition in 1970 – I never felt so proud standing on the field having our drum majors return to our formation with the trophy.  Mr. Donlan (High School Orchestra), Mr. Franceschini (Jr High Band), Miss Bressler (chorus/musicals) also help develop life skills through music, to which I am thankful.