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Oral History


Memories of Ellen Engler, Director of Community Service Program and Emma Yoh, Associate Professor of Education

It was November 1, 1999 seated comfortably in the Alvernia College Convent living room, where Ellen Engler and Emma Yoh completed a tape recalling many memories of their early days at Alvernia.

Here is a glimpse of the Taping:

Good Afternoon!  On this beautiful Fall Day in the month of November, we have with us Emma Yoh and Ellen Engler, two of our cherished faculty personnel who will share with us their memoir and experiences at Alvernia.

Emma Yoh came to Alvernia in 1962 where she taught in the Education Department.  Emma is now Professor Emeritus and also supervises elementary and secondary student teachers during their period of practice teaching at the different local area schools in Berks County.

Since 1985, Ellen Engler taught at Alvernia in the Department of Education.  In 1991 Ellen later assumed the responsibility of a new program, Community Service, a graduation requirement of the forty hours community service approved by the Board of Trustees.

Emma comments: - I retired from the Elementary School District as a supervisor.  I knew Sister Doris, who was a faculty member and chair of the Elementary Education Department at Alvernia.  Sister Victorine, the President of Alvernia, asked me to come to teach a course – “just one course.”  Sister told me that the pay isn’t great but that didn’t bother me.  I said “yes” and since then I spent many happy days at Alvernia and felt that it was a great privilege to be here.

Ellen Engler continues: - I saw an ad in the paper that there was an opening in the Education Department at Alvernia.  It was 1985.  I quickly got my resume’ together and walked to the college.  I had on my dirty blue jeans thinking that I would drop off my resume’, then wait for an appointment but I met Dr. Konsin, Vice President of Academic Affairs, who ushered me into her office and after one-hour interview I was offered the job.

Emma goes on: - Here everyone knows everyone and Sister Victorine said that AC students are very special for two reasons: 1. They know they are here and 2. They do quality work and give their best.  I soon found out that she was not wrong.  Even today they are just as special.

Ellen chimes in: - That is why your department is a success.  We have an Early Childhood major and we should look into a Special Education Program.

Emma recalls: - In 1978 we had five elementary and one secondary student teacher.  Last summer (1998) we had forty-two student teachers.  Yes, Ellen, we need a Special Education Program to help special students.  Dr. Sutton is also looking for certification for principals.

Ellen continues: - In Community Service over 90% have more than forty hours.

Emma gives an example: - The new students met in the Crusaders Café in the Student Center where a sophomore welcomed them and said that the most important part of her college was Community Service where she got her forty hours first and was very proud of her accomplishment.  I don’t know her name.

Ellen’s observation: - When I attended Mass at my parish church last week I saw six of my former college students.  What a privilege that was for me.  Alvernia College will go on forever.

Emma recalls: - Dr. Sutton is so great and positive; he always goes out to see every student teacher and every contact teacher.  Our student teachers are always professionally dressed, come early and stay late.

Then Ellen and Emma began to reminisce about the time they both taught methods and brought quarters for a soda for the weary student teachers who came to class with all their stories.

Emma states: - I hope we don’t get too big.

Sister Alodia comments: - Dr. Mazzeno wants to increase the resident students to 500.  Ellen and Emma, both of you have quite a history at Alvernia College.

Ellen quotes: - I would like to quote that since 1991, the students put in 200,000 hours of Community Service.  A Hallmark of Pride!

Emma rejoices: - When I think of Alvernia I think only of happiness.  Happy thoughts, special students.

Ellen: - I second your statement!

Sister Alodia: - It was a pleasure to listen to your fascinating stories and experiences.  This is Emma’s first time on camera.  Great!


Interviewed by Sister M. Alodia Podczasy, November 1, 1999

Contact Information

The University Archives are located at the 951 Morgantown Offices on the first floor. Please contact Sharon Neal, Library Director to schedule an appointment.




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