- Grove City, Pennsylvania

April 26, 2013

Mextorf returns amid praise, good news

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

GROVE CITY — Wednesday's Grove City school board work session was all about praise, thanks and sharing good news, and a familiar face was back at the head of the table.

"It is really good to be back. I think I was on every prayer chain in Grove City and I felt it," Superintendent Dr. Richard Mextorf said of his leave of absence for cancer treatment, pausing as he was overcome with emotion.

It was his first meeting since his extended illness and his second week back at work since mid-November. He noted that James Anderson, the George Junior Republic principal who had been acting superintendent, will assist Mextorf the rest of the school year while he continues to recover from colorectal cancer surgery.

Mextorf, who beat testicular cancer in early 2012, said he's thankful for the large stack of cards he received and for Anderson and other school officials who ran things smoothly in his absence.

"We have not missed a beat...Each and every one of you is a blessing in my life. Thank you all for your support," said Mextorf, who was upbeat during the rest of the meeting, which included cake in his honor.

He jumped right into the agenda, saying it was time to share multiple examples of student achievement, which can be measured in more ways than just standardized tests.

Students, teachers and administrators from George Junior spent about 45 minutes giving presentations on various programs they've done this school year. Four young men read from Dr. Seuss books, acting out the scenes and wearing costumes, demonstrating how they performed for groups at senior centers, preschools and other students for "Read Across America."

Several other George Junior students talked about learning how to make bars of soap, which they are planning to market and sell locally; they brought four different scents with them. The soap idea was created a year ago and it was great to see the successful results, said Mextorf, telling the students they are to be commended for their progress.

Board members also heard about George Junior's life skills class volunteering at the Grove City Community Food Pantry and a team of students that has been competing at regional robotics competitions.

"All four of these groups are starting traditions," said Andrew Kemper, George Junior's assistant principal who served as principal while Anderson led the district.

"You're doing some great things," Mextorf said, adding he is so proud of George Junior's representation of the district.

The evening continued with Matt Gordon, a Grove City junior who is part of the high school's professional work experience program, which has had six students this school year learning hands-on about working in business, nursing, physical therapy and education.

Matt, who has been working with Davevic Benefit Consultants in Grove City and plans to major in business after high school, is leading a project to replace the aging high school marquee with an LED sign. He got quotes, learned the borough expects to adopt an ordinance in the next few months that will allow electronic signs in town and helped secure funding.

The cost is already covered by donations and student council funds, and Mextorf said he doesn't want would-be donors to feel like they weren't given the chance to contribute; the plan happened to fall into place quickly.

"We don't want to diminish opportunities," he said, adding the recently revamped physical education program will soon be needing funds for new exercise equipment.

Published April. 6, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.