This page contains press releases about events and news within the Ambridge Area School District.
Photo Courtesy of Alan Freed
The Ambridge Steel Drum Band will celebrate 30 fabulous years on stage with world-class professional musicians from The River City Brass Band and Liam Teague during an anniversary concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at Ambridge Senior High School, 909 Duss Ave., Ambridge. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets for the event are $8 for adults and $5 for children 17 and under when purchased in advance between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays at the High School. Tickets are for general admission only and may be purchased via cash or check. If purchasing via check, please make payable to Ambridge Area Band Boosters. Tickets purchased at the door on the day of the event are $10 for adults and $7 for ages 17 and under.
The River City Brass Band is America’s only full-time brass band. It was founded in Pittsburgh in 1981 by Robert Bernat, with a mission of entertaining, educating and engaging citizens locally and globally.
Liam Teague is a professor of music and head of steelpan studies at Northern Illinois University, where he also directs the prominent NIU Steelband. He is hailed as the “Paganini of the Steelpan” and is world renowned for his musical acumen. Mr. Teague is the recipient of an NIU Presidential Research, Scholarship and Artistry Professor Award, and has received many awards from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, including the Humming Bird National Award and the Ansa McAl Caribbean Award for Excellence. Among his many accomplishments, he has appeared in concert with Grammy Award-winning musicians Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Samuels, Zakir Hussain and Dame Evelyn Glennie.
The 30th anniversary celebration culminates a year of special events for the Ambridge Steel Band. In November, the band appeared for the first time in the WPXI Holiday Parade, and performed two nights at Heinz Hall with the revitalized B.E. Taylor Christmas Show in December. The Ambridge Steel Band also was honored to be one of 35 ensembles from 13 states to be selected by audition to perform at the 2019 NAfME/PMEA Eastern Division Conference on April 4 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
For more information about the concert, or for ticketing questions, call 724-266-2833, Ext 2520.
The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Drew Karpen as the interim District Athletic Director. Mr. Karpen is replacing Mr. Brian Miller, who resigned from the position earlier this month. Mr. Miller’s last day with the District is May 1.
Mr. Karpen previously served as the Athletic Event Coordinator at North Allegheny School District, a position he held for three years. As part of his duties at North Allegheny, he assisted in fundraising efforts for athletic facilities, equipment and coaching staff. He also was responsible for scheduling staff for game-day events, and serving as site manager for regular season and state playoff games.
Prior to his position with North Allegheny, Mr. Karpen worked as a webmaster for the Big 56 Conference, which is the highest classification conference in the WPIAL and includes 44 teams covering athletes from Division 1 to NAIA level. He also previously served as a producer, color commentator and camera operator for the Presidents Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball games, and worked as a sports journalist with the Tribune Review, Post-Gazette and the Associated Press.
In addition to his previous experience, Mr. Karpen also holds a master’s degree in Sports Management from California (Pa.) University and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism/Communications Studies from Clarion University.
“We welcome Mr. Karpen to the District, and look forward to working with him to support our student athletes and to build a positive team culture here at Ambridge,” said Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent.
Mr. Karpen’s starting date is Monday, April 29.
On Friday, March 29, 2019, Ambridge High School will host an inclusion event for LGBTQ+ youth in Beaver County. The event is open to youth in grades 9-12 in any Beaver County school district and will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ambridge High School.
The event is being organized by Ambridge High School student Dylan Irvin as part of a senior project. The goal of the event is to feature a panel of guest speakers who will share personal experiences, as well as providing attendees with valuable support resources for youth in Beaver County.
An open resource fair, which includes time for attendees to speak with representatives from support agencies in Beaver County, will be part of the event. Youth attendees also will be given time to spend with peers participating in group team-building activities and discussion groups related to LGBTQ+ current issues.
Breakfast items, lunch and snacks will be provided.
Registration for the event is required. Registration forms are available on the Ambridge Area School District website here.
The Ambridge Area School District is accepting applications for the 2019 Hall of Honor. Nominees for the honor will be inducted into the Hall of Honor during the 2019 Graduation Ceremony, scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 6, 2019 in the High School Gymnasium.
The Hall of Honor was established to commend outstanding Ambridge Area School District alumni for their accomplishments, successes, service to others and state or national awards.
In order to be eligible for nomination, alumni must meet the following criteria:
Nominees for the Hall of Honor must have made significant community contributing and/or career-related accomplishments. One-time distinctions or awards may be appropriate if they were given at a state or national level.
Nominees also must have graduated from Ambridge Area School District at least 10 years prior.
“The primary goal of the Hall of Honor is to have our current students aspire to the greatness that other Ambridge Area graduates have achieved,” said Dr. Jo Welter, Superintendent of Schools. “Those successful graduates add to our greatness and allow us to encourage and motivate current students toward future aspirations.”
The 2019 Hall of Honor winner will be selected by a committee consisting of School Board members, District Administrators, teachers, students and community members. If available to participate in the ceremony, the 2019 Hall of Honor designee will be recognized during the 2019 Commencement Ceremony on June 6.
Applications will be accepted until March 15, 2019 and are available on the District website and the Ambridge Area Senior High School office.
The Ambridge Area School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Donald Phillips to the position of head coach of the Ambridge Area Varsity Football Team for the 2019-2020 season.
Mr. Phillips brings with him to Ambridge over three decades of coaching experience. He most recently served as the Quarterback Coach at Geneva College, a position he has held since 2017. Prior to his position at Geneva College, he was the head football coach for the Ellwood City School District for eight years. He also has coached for Center Area School District, South Side School District, West Allegheny School District, Rochester School District and Monaca School District.
“I consider football to be an extension of the academic program,” said Mr. Phillips. “I am excited to work with the team and to help enhance their athletic experience.”
Mr. Phillips brings with him to Ambridge an impressive record, with several WPIAL championships under his belt at Ellwood City, Center and Rochester. He also was named Section III – AA Coach of the Year five times: in 1988, 1992, 1997, 1998 and 2016.
“I will bring to this position an intense commitment and a relentless dedication to developing a successful football program that reflects the pride, the enthusiasm, and the extreme level of excellence expected and demanded by the Ambridge Area School District,” said Mr. Phillips.
In addition to his coaching experience, Mr. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Geneva College and holds a Master of Education degree from Westminster College in Secondary Guidance. He is a native of Beaver.
“We are excited about the opportunity that Don brings to our football program,” said Ambridge Athletic Director Brian Miller. “We are looking forward to helping him build our program and generating more interest among our students in playing.”
Coming hot off their 72-67 win over Quaker Valley, the Ambridge Varsity Boys’ Basketball team received some even more exciting news that could set the momentum for the team as it moves toward the playoffs. The Wright Field House – which has been closed for games since January 2018 due to safety issues with the bleachers – will be reopened in time for the Tuesday, Jan. 22 home game against Central Valley.
The Field House originally closed after the bleachers failed a safety check by the company which installed them originally. At the time, the District was advised by the bleacher manufacturing company that the bleachers would need to be completely replaced at an estimated cost of $400,000. Recently, an alternative repair became available to the District at a cost of $5,000, said Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter.
Athletic Director Mr. Brian Miller said the solution to fixing the existing bleachers came at a recent WPIAL athletic directors’ meeting, when it was suggested that the bleachers could be adequately stabilized for use without total replacement. L-shaped metal plates were installed to support the bleachers, and were secured by 250 bolts. The method was approved by the bleacher manufacturer, Mr. Miller said. Once the work is finished, it will be inspected by the company.
In order to make the repair work, the bleachers will not be able to be closed and will have to remain open at all times. The fix was applied only to one side of the bleachers, so the opposite side of the bleachers will remain unavailable for use. Because the bleachers will need to remain open, it also will reduce the number of available courts in the Field House from three to two. In addition to the bleacher stabilizers, the center court also was refinished.
“It was a great effort on the part of the athletic director and administration to get the Field House reopened for the kids,” said Dr. Welter. “We’re pleased to be able to get this iconic facility reopened in time for our team to finish out the season.”
The Ambridge Area School District Board of School Directors held its annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5, during which time officers were elected and meeting dates and times were established for 2019.
Mr. Scott Angus was re-elected to the position of Board President. Other Board members re-elected to their positions are: Mrs. Terry Mylan, Vice President and Mrs. Valerie Pedigo, Treasurer. District solicitor is Ms. .Megan Turnbull of Weiss, Burkardt and Kramer and Board Secretary is Mrs. Marianne Salzman.
Board meeting days and times will remain the same for 2019. Meet and Discuss meetings are scheduled for the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. Regular Board meetings are scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. The annual reorganization meeting will be held on Dec. 4, 2019. The location for all School Board meetings is the Ambridge Area High School Library, located on the second floor, unless otherwise noted.
A complete list of meeting dates and times can be found on the AASD website at www.ambridge.k12.pa.us under School Board/Meeting Schedule. The next regularly-scheduled School Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2019 in the Ambridge Area High School Library.
The Ambridge Area Board of School Directors has a new member. On Wednesday, Aug. 15, the Board appointed Cathy Fischer to fill the vacancy left when former Board member Kelly Fischer resigned her seat at the July 18 School Board meeting.
The Board received three applications from individuals interested in serving the remainder of Kelly Fisher’s term, which runs through November 2019. Candidate interviews were conducted by the Board prior to the decision to select Cathy Fischer to fill the vacancy.
Cathy Fischer is a parent in the District who has been active in the schools and community. She successfully spearheaded the Highland Elementary School PTO for several years and has established meaningful relationships with local and elected officials to positively benefit the Ambridge Area School District and its students.
“I am a forward-thinking individual who takes initiative to identify challenges,” she said. “My strong passion for our District, my love of public education and my keen ability to build quality relationships within the community will serve as valuable assets to the School Board.”
Mrs. Fischer said she is capable of and willing to “. . . work closely with other Board members and Administrators to create a shared vision for the best possible solutions for a successful District.”
Ambridge School Board President Scott Angus said the Board is fortunate to have someone as dedicated to public education as Mrs. Fischer joining their ranks. “We would like to thank the three individuals who expressed interest in filling the seat,” he said. “We feel confident moving forward that Mrs. Fischer will work diligently to fulfill the best interests of our District and our community.”
Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter said she looks forward to working with Mrs. Fischer in her new role. “Mrs. Fischer is well known in the community as a strong supporter of public education and an advocate for our children,” she said. “As a parent with children in the District, I know she is dedicated to the success of not only her own children, but that of every child in our schools.”
The Ambridge Area Board of School Directors is accepting letters of interest to fill a vacancy on the Board.
The vacancy was created when Board member Kelly Fischer resigned at the July 18 School Board meeting. Fischer, who was not present at the meeting, provided a resignation letter to Board President Scott Angus. Fischer cited work obligations as the reason for her resignation.
“I relish the time I spent serving the school district and I will miss it in the future,” Ms. Fischer said in her resignation letter.
The Pennsylvania School Code outlines the following requirements for candidates wishing to fill school board vacancies:
Must be a citizen;
Must be at least 18 years old;
Must be of good moral character; and
Must be a resident of school district for at least one year prior to the date of election or appointment.
Mr. Angus said the School Board will review all applications for the position at the August 8 meeting, with interviews conducted between August 8-15. A final candidate will be selected at the August 15 meeting. The new Board member will serve the remainder of Ms. Fischer’s term, which expires in November 2019.