Sunday, October 26, 2014

Honorable Alumni

Photo Courtesy of John J. Armato
From left, Paul Salem son of Phyllis Sell Salem, Mark Pennypacker, David Garner, James E. Rodgers

A lawyer, a police chief, a middle east expert and a teacher are the most recent inductees to the Pottstown High School Alumni Honor Roll.

During the Oct. 17 ceremony, the school district honored David Garner, James Rodgers, the late Phyllis Sell Salem and Mark Pennypacker Sr.

Mark Pennypacker Sr.

Pennypacker, a 1978 graduate, has a dizzying array of degrees and progressional experiences.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and sociology fropm West Chester University; a masters in divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary; a masters in educational administration from Shenandoah University and in geosciences from Mississippi Sate University and course work at University of Colorado, James Madison University and the University of Virginia.

He has been named to who’s who of American High School Teachers, soccer and girls soccer coach of the year and a distinguished citizen leader award where he lives in Winchester, Va.

An earth sciences and biology teacher at James Wood High School there, he is also an adjunct professor of Geography and Meterology at Lord Fairfax Community College and, as a People to People Student Ambassador, he has accompanied students to the Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Australia, China, France and the British isles.

Pennypacker has also been named a Boy Scout leader of the year, and is a member of the local Lions Club and the Treadwell Lodge No. 213 of the Masons, as well as serving on the boards of the local American Red Cross, Blue Ridge Youth Soccer, Shenandoah University Alumni Board, United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley and the Vestry of St. mark’s Episcopal Church in Virginia.

James Rodgers

Rodgers, a 1953 Pottstown High School graduate, served as Pottstown’s police chief from 1974 to 1991, after serving for five years as a sergeant and one year as the captain of the force.

Born in North Carolina, he and his family moved to Pottstown in 1946.

While in high school, Rodgers was on the track team and captain of the cross country team, as well as a member of the choir and playing the tuba in the band.

A four-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Rodgers was recognized for many innovations during his years with the police force.

They include a crisis intervention service, a crime prevention unit, a cooperative instruction program which put police officers into the schools to teach criminal justice classes and the creation of an awards and honor guard program within the force itself.

Himself a recipient of the department’s medal of valor award, Rodgers also received recognition from the International Police Chiefs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, Jewish War Veterans and a Navy recruiting award.

After retiring from the police force in 1991, Rodgers served for six years as the executive director of the Interfaith Community Development Corp.

Phyllis Sell Salem

Salem graduated from Pottstown high School in 1948 and continued her education for many years.

From 1948 to 1950, she attended the Pierce School of Business, and in 1966 graduated with a bachelors degree from Beruit College for Women.

Two years later, she received her masters in English from the American University of Beruit and one year after that, received a second masters from the same school, this one in philosophy.

From 1975 to 1982, Salem was an organizer with Cultural Books of Distinction, a program forging connections between Europe and Lebanon.

She was a consultant with the Ministry of Information in Lebanon from 1980 to 1989 and from 1975 to 1990, Salem was chairperson of the Save Lebanon Committee, during the civil war there.

David Garner

A 1976 graduate of Pottstown High School, Garner then attended the Hill School for a year where he lettered in cross country and winter and spring track and set the home course record.

In 1981, a degree in political science and European history was earned from Ursinus College, where he again set the home course record and won a league championship as co-captain of the cross country team, as well as worked for four years as a reporter at the school newspaper.

Garner’s law degree was earned from Dickinson School of law in 1984, the same year he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he worked as an attorney and leaving in 1991 with the rank of captain.

Now in his own practice, which he established 14 years ago, Garner has served as the solicitor for the Pottstown Borough Authority as well as the East Vincent Municipal Authority.

He has served as president as the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, co-chairman of the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors of Creative Health Services and the Rejoincing Spirits Board, a worship service for the developmentally disabled, the board of the Moasic Community Land Trust and in many positions at St. James Lutheran Church in Pottstown.

Garner has also spent 10 years with the Pottstown Chapter of the American Business Club and on the advisory committee at Manatawny Manor.

In 2008 and 2009, Garner was the president of Pottstown Borough Council.

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