Community leaders, respondents spend time with students at St. Joseph

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Pre-K students at St. Joseph Catholic School bump fists with, from left, City of Warren Police Chief Joe Sproveri, Mayor David Wortman, State Rep. Kathy Rapp, Sheriff Scott Neiswonger and Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Fetzeck.

Uniforms and badges and titles can be intimidating.

But hopefully less so for students at St. Joseph Catholic School who had the opportunity Tuesday to hear from elected leaders and public safety officials during an assembly as part of Catholic Schools Week.

Principal Carrie Pearson said the theme for Catholic Schools Week this year highlights “celebrating our community and how important that is.

“One day maybe some of you will be up here,” she added.

That was no joke.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton State Rep. Kathy Rapp was one of several local leaders that spoke to students at St. Joseph Catholic School as part of Catholic Schools Week.

City of Warren Mayor David Wortman presented a proclamation for Catholic Schools Week and told the students that 42 years ago he was sitting in a seat just like them at St. Joseph.

“Some of my best friends to this day,” he said, were classmates from elementary school.

The students had a host of questions for each of the speakers. One asked if being mayor is hard.

“Sometimes there are things that are challenging,” Wortman said. “It’s something I feel I can do to give back to my community.”

Sheriff Scott Neiswonger said that being sheriff was a goal of his in part for the same reason — more community involvement.

“We do what we do (to) give back to the community,” state Rep. Kathy Rapp said. “(We all) want to serve the public.”

She was also asked if being a state representative is hard. “It’s like any job. There are challenges,” she said. “I like this job because it’s challenging. I’m always on the road, always changing subjects. I meet with a lot of people.”

City of Warren Police Chief Joe Sproveri acknowledged that their uniforms can be intimidating.

“We want you guys to remember, we’re all friendly faces,” he said. “We’re regular people. We’re here to help you.

“Our job is to keep you safe.”

City of Warren Fire Chief Dave Krogler said he got into the field because he enjoys helping people.

“Being a firefighter, it’s exciting,” he said. “We do a lot of other things beyond just fighting fire.”

Paramedic Jeanne Phelps told the kids she got into the emergency services because when she was 16 someone bet her she couldn’t do it.

“At that time there weren’t a lot of girls that did it,” she said.

She now volunteers at Starbrick and works for both EmergyCare and the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College.

“Everybody up on this stage is here to help you,” Conewango Police Officer Charlie Andersen said.


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