A great community is a living thing with huge arms that wrap around us and make us feel cared for. The heartbeat of that community is its school. Wyoming Area has nurtured children for decades, and those children, no matter how far they go, remember. The WA scholarship program is testament to that. It began with civic organizations, then private donors began to contribute, now graduates are donors. There are 10 new scholarships this year, bringing the total to nearly 100.

Some of the graduates who now give back to the school they loved are Bobby Acacio, Mark Butchko, Christine Yarosavich Bonnice, Jim “Didge” Connors, Paul and Matt Finn, Richard Nelson, Tim Rutkowski and Megan Bump Rutkowski. Another is in development and will be announced soon. In their descriptions, they credit teachers, coaches and advisers who helped to get them ready for the world. They've gone on to successful careers and now hope to encourage young people like themselves — bright, ambitious, talented, dreamers.

I taught some of these donors and still see them as they were in my classroom or in the hallway slamming locker doors. I remember them at the prom or competing at their sport, and I remember some of them on stage. I wonder what Dr. Paul Finn's students at Stanford would think if they saw a photo of him dressed in a grass skirt and coconut bra playing Luther Billis in South Pacific. I smile just thinking about it.

And what better way to remember WA students or graduates who have been taken from us than to memorialize them at the school that was their home. At the celebration in May, we hear their names called in the the gym where they once played and their names are printed in programs that become souvenirs of new graduates. It's another opportunity to hug parents and tell stories that show we remember them. Good kids like John “Beno” Borzell, Jake Busch, Matt Chipolis, Mark Dushok, Charlie Giacometti, Stephanie Godri-Johnston, Leonard Insalaco, Mark Kleback, Jamie Oliveri, Elaine Panzitta, Michael Pedley, Jennifer Sidari, Devon Silva and Eric Speicher Jr.

Some scholarships memorialize my former colleagues. People who worked alongside me to make WA the kind of school kids remember so fondly. Wonderful people who were my friends. Steve Chipolis, Harry Giacometti, Mike Romanowski, Tom Kearns, Kathleen Keder-Pitcavage, Jean Matys and Josette Yakobitis.

Others are dedicated to WA parents who supported school clubs and team, cheering for our kids and raising money for their activities.

These scholarships are personal. Each one is a message to us about the importance of a school in a community and of the important part the community plays in our school. I've know most of these people. They've touched my life and now, through these scholarships, they touch the life of a new person, a new generation.

The deadline to apply for a WA scholarship is Wednesday, Feb. 3 by 2:30 PM. Parents should pay attention to the announcements on Google Classroom and the Senior Parents 2021 Facebook page.

These awards are not just for the top of the class. There is something for just about everyone who puts in a sincere effort.

It's an honor to receive a gift from such generous, caring people. I hope the recipients will one day return the embrace. I'm sure they will.

Food distribution

Wyoming, West Wyoming, and Exeter residents are eligible for free food from the Al Beech Food Pantry from 2 to 4p.m. every Wednesday at the Church of Christ Uniting, 786 W. Market St., Kingston. The food is available without proof of income, but proof of residency is required. This is drive through only. No walk ups. Remain in your car and food will be placed in your trunk only. Everyone is welcome.

Library news

Wyoming Free Library is suspending in-person services and resuming curbside pickup service only. You can schedule pickup from 10a.m. to 2p.m. Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. You can return library materials in the outside book return. Materials will be quarantined for seven days. No fines will incur during quarantine. Staff will be available to answer questions by telephone only. To schedule a curbside pickup or to request an item, please call the library at 570-693-1364.

Wyoming sanitation bills

Wyoming Borough sanitation bills have been mailed out and the payment plan is as follows: The current discount period ends Feb. 5. Cost is $240 during the discount period. The face period runs from Feb. 6 until May 14, when the price is $250. Late fee of $50 will be added as of May 15. A senior discount is in effect until May 14. There will be no exceptions. Vacant properties are not exempt from sanitation fees. Rental property owners are responsible for trash fees, not tenants. Cash will not be accepted. Check or money orders should be made payable to Wyoming Borough Sanitation. Bills can be paid online at wyomingpa.org using credit card or e-check. A small transaction fee will apply.

Wyoming police signs

Support Wyoming Borough Police Department by purchasing a Back the Blue sign, available for purchase at the borough office for $10 each.

Wyoming notices

Wyoming residents are reminded they are not to utilize the West Wyoming compost site for their yard waste or they will be fined.

If trash or recycling is not picked up on the scheduled day, report it immediately to J.P. Mascaro, 1-800-243-7575, so they can dispatch workers. Also inform the borough.

First United Presbyterian Church news

First United Presbyterian Church of Wyoming holds in-person worship at 11a.m. Sundays. Masks are required and social distancing measures are in place. For planning purposes, reservations are requested and can be made by calling the church office at 570-609-5410.

Services are also broadcast live on Facebook on Sunday at 11 a.m. Look for the live stream link presbywp.org. Also, Zoom Bible study and prayer time are held every Wednesday. Call 570-609-5410 for information.

Morningstar Legion meeting

American Legion Morningstar Post 904, West Wyoming, will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at West Wyoming Hose Company No. 1.

Exeter refuse stickers

Refuse stickers for Exeter are now available. The price for residents under 64 is $170 if purchased by Feb. 28. From March 1 to March 31, the price will be $200. For seniors who have reached 64 by March 31, 2021, the rebate price is $130 until Feb. 28 and then $150 until March 31. Mail or place check or money order in the box at the borough building marked refuse, taxes and zoning and a sticker will be mailed to you. Please include a self addressed, stamped envelope, business size No. 10. The mailing address is 1101 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643. There is no admittance to the borough building until further notice.

Exeter notices

Bulk collection stickers are $35 per item. To purchase bulk stickers, contact the Exeter Borough refuse office at 570 654-3001, ext. 2. A bulk item includes small furniture, carpet, mattress or an appliance.

The borough building is closed to the public and open only to essential personnel until further notice. The borough will continue to serve the public needs for all police, fire and medical emergencies. Please dial 911 in the event of an emergency.

Payments can be dropped off at the secure payment box located at the entrance of the borough building outside for the following — trash, taxes, tickets, building permits and dumpster permits. Please call 570-654-3001 for any further questions or visit our website at http://www.exeterborough.com.

Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming every week. To list an item, email barbarabullions@gmail.com or call 570-301-2185 by Monday.

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