DUBOIS – Amy Kessler experienced history while she was a student athlete at DuBois Area High School. She brought that message and the lessons she learned as the guest speaker for the ninth annual DuBois Area Historical Society Spring Luncheon.
Opening her presentation, Kessler noted that her family ties connect to the George Shaffer, the original settler of DuBois. She related a story about her Aunt Katie Shaffer, who feuded with the railroad over a family death in a railroad accident.
Kessler said that it is ironic because she now works with railroads through her job as director of development and regional planning for the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in Ridgway.
But, it was Kessler’s own brush with history that affected her life the most. “I was the first generation of women to be influenced by Title IX,” she said about the legislation that brought equality in athletics to girls and women for the first time.
“Because of Title IX, I had the chance to go to college on a sports scholarship.”
From 1984-88 Kessler scored 1,664 points for the girl’s basketball team at DuBois Area High School. That total is still a school record, unmatched by a boy or a girl. She also finished her high school career with the top three best seasons in scoring, assists, steals and rebounds.
Those skills earned Kessler a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where she lettered four times and was named a Kodak All-American. She finished her college career with 1,662 points scored, just two less than her high school total.
“I learned many things through sports,” said Kessler. “I learned how to lose. I learned to set goals. I learned discipline and time management, something expected from those involved in sports and education. I learned about teamwork and working hard. I learned communication.”
Graduating from Pitt with a degree in geography, Kessler now handles $50 million in funding yearly for the six-county region covered by the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission. She speaks nationally on rural economics.
“I encourage all of you to urge young girls today that they can be something better; encourage them to be strong women,” Kessler concluded.
Thirty-two people attended the luncheon held at Christ Lutheran Church during Women’s History Month. They dined on sandwiches from DuBois’ Brady Street Subway, wedding soup from Calliari’s Bakery, Sonoma Salad from Luigi’s Ristorante, and candy from Carissa’s Creations.
Brady Street Distributors donated bottled water; Callliari Bakery donated bread; Beaver Meadow Creamery donated butter; and DuBois Restaurant Supply donated the plates and bowls. Way Office Supply donated the paper for the program. Primativily Fun! and Wapiti Ridge Wine Cellar donated door prizes.
DuBois Area Historical Society Ruth Gregori delivered the welcome and introduced the guest speaker. Todd Thompson, society historian, gave the blessing.
Upcoming DuBois Area Historical Society activities are:
April 10 – fundraiser and basket raffle a Luigi’s Ristorante. The society will receive a portion of the day’s profits from Luigi’s.
April 20 – Guest speaker Don Bailey, “Early NASCAR Driver,” 7 p.m., society museum.
May 7 – Spring walk at Sabula led by Pam Kirk, 10 a.m.
May 11 – Fundraiser with Italian Oven, DuBois, all day. Print a voucher from at www.duboishs.com or from a society board member.
May 18 – Guest speaker Jack Green, “My Time With the Peace Corps,” 7 p.m., society museum.