PMHS alumni share their school, work experiences with teachers

Five Penn Manor alumni returned to their high school on November 21 for a panel discussion designed to provide input for teachers on the skills students need to be successful in today’s workforce.

The panel included Rob Barley (Class of 1987), chief financial officer, Star Rock Farms; Lauren Dissinger (2005), director of sales and customer experiences, Cargas Software; Seth Perry (1997), owner/operator, Seth Perry Trucking and Valley Logistics; Chuck Swanson (1994), senior construction manager, Sight & Sound Theatres; and Morgan Martzall (2015), pediatric nurse, Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

The Penn Manor graduates addressed current middle and high school teachers during a presentation in the high school auditorium.

The panelists talked about some of the valuable skills and traits they acquired while attending Penn Manor, including empathy, teamwork, respect and the value of hard work. Several singled out individual teachers and programs with instilling these positive habits, which they continue to use today.

The panel members also discussed what skills high school graduates need to successfully enter the workforce.

Good communication and collaboration skills were among those most mentioned, along with technology skills, creativity, financial literacy, empathy and curiosity. Among the most important qualities, they said, were curiosity and a willingness to learn new skills because of the constantly changing nature of most jobs today.

Following the panel discussion, secondary teachers met to discuss how to implement some of the suggestions into Penn Manor’s curriculum.

“The panel discussion was a good reminder of the diverse population of students that we serve and the impact a Penn Manor education can have on those who take advantage of the opportunities available to them,” said Dr. Phil Gale, Penn Manor superintendent. 

“It also demonstrated the strength that comes from a community that values educating students based on their academic abilities and life goals.”

We thank these alumni for providing this valuable feedback to help Penn Manor better prepare students for success after high school.

Photo of alumni panel members on stage in the high school audtorium.
From left, high school principal Baron Jones with alumni Rob Barley, Chuck Swanson, Seth Perry, Lauren Dissinger and Morgan Martzell.