Patsel’s Restaurant was the setting for a celebration of Diana Statsman’s service to SCOLA for almost three decades. Eighty people attended to honor Diana, the first Executive Director of SCOLA. Diana was responsible for growing the organization from a handful of tutors and a small number of students to an organization serving over 300 students per year with an average of ninety volunteer tutors providing literacy services to adults.
Leo Walsh, one of the founding members of SCOLA, spoke of Diana’s impact on the organization. Other speakers at the event were Peter Curtin, past SCOLA President, Phil Condron, past SCOLA Board member, and Jane Oppenheim, former SCOLA board member. Guests included Diana’s family Amanda West, Jessica Statsman and guest, Jude McDonough; board members John Atkins and his wife, Pat; Ruth Gerrity, current SCOLA/UNC Advisory Board President and Past SCOLA President; Jane Martin; M. Suzanne Harper; Bonnie Alco; Naomi Alamar and her husband, Paul; Jim Brady and his wife, Susan; Estelle Freedman; James Vipond; John Palumbo and Betsy Bonczar, former President of SCOLA, and her family. Also celebrating Diana’s service to SCOLA were Michael Hanley, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Services of Northeastern PA (parent organization of SCOLA) and his wife, Kathy; Betty Burns and John Burns, members of the UNC Board, Sherry Spencer and Jackie West, both ProLiteracy members and executive directors of literacy councils; SCOLA staff, Luis Canales and his fiancée, Margie Flores, John Long; and former SCOLA staff members Nancy Dressel and Ilona Thurston as well as many others.
Pro Literacy, the foremost Adult Literacy organization in America, presented Diana with a plaque and a gift in honor of her many contributions to the field of Adult Literacy. Diana was also presented with a plaque from SCOLA, flowers, and a donation of over $4,600 given in her name by her many friends and colleagues to the SCOLA Endowment Fund at United Neighborhood Centers.
SCOLA, now a division of UNC, has been providing adult literacy services to the Lackawanna County region for over 32 years. SCOLA’s services are provided free of charge and include both adult literacy and English as a Foreign Language. Teaching is provided mainly by volunteer tutors. For more information, call 570.346.6203.