The Daily Item
DANVILLE — The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) announces the Ken and Pat Ackerman Designated Fund for the Thomas Beaver Free Library in Danville. This designated fund will be a permanent funding source in which a portion of the fund’s investment income will be granted annually to the Library in support of the Pat Ackerman “Guys Read” Program for Young Boys. The Fund exemplifies the Ackerman’s family values and represents things that were important to them – academic and athletic excellence.
The “Guys Read” Program for Young Boys through the Thomas Beaver Free Library is designed to teach and reinforce the love of reading over the summer. Studies have shown that boys lose interest in reading for pleasure in the third and fourth grade. Each year students around the nation experience what experts call “the summer slide”. The “Guys Read” program will help to combat this troubling phenomenon. In addition, the Program provides an opportunity for Danville high school male athletes to assist by becoming mentors to their younger counterparts. “Guys Read” mentors will have a direct impact by showing that young men read and that reading can be fun.
The Ackerman’s three sons, Ken, Chris and Peter, have joined their father in establishing this endowed fund in honor of Pat and her commitment to the Danville area and lifelong love of teaching. At the age of 16, Pat declared that her goal in life was to teach high school English. Pat grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University, graduating in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta national sorority and she completed her English graduate work at Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich.
In 1961, she began her teaching career with junior high English classes in Granville, Ohio and later Ypsilanti, Mich. Pat attained her goal of teaching high school English and taught at several schools over her career — beginning at Highland Park High School, Highland Park, Mich., then on to Milton High School, Milton, Pa. In 1980, she joined the Danville Area School District to teach English at Danville Junior High School. Pat moved directly from Danville Junior High School to Danville High School where she taught college prep and honors English courses until her retirement.
Aside from her 23-year teaching career, Pat wore many hats. She is a devoted mother and wife. She and Ken will celebrate 53 years of marriage this December. Pat gave much of her time, talent and treasure to the Thomas Beaver Free Library as a member and chair of the board of directors and a volunteer. Her work and commitment to the community did not stop with the library. She shared her talents by teaching at the Head Start Program for the poor and disadvantaged in Montour County. Pat also helped to lead a child abuse initiative in Montour County. She was member of the Geisinger Auxiliary and a member of Christ Memorial Episcopal Church where she taught Sunday school and served as chair of the Altar Guild.
Her association with each of these organizations was unique and fulfilling. Pat’s commitment to the community is inspiring.
The Ackerman family has been providing annual gifts to the Thomas Beaver Free Library for many years. Ken Ackerman commented, “The Community Foundation has given us an opportunity to create a legacy that reflects Pat’s passion for books, the importance she placed on reading, her commitment to teaching and volunteerism, as well as the value she placed on integrating scholarship and athletics. All of our sons participated in athletics at Danville High School and they were scholar-athletes in college, as well; but you can only become the best you can be with a good education and that requires good reading skills. The “Guys Read” Program fulfills lifelong dreams, and we hope it will help the young men and boys of Danville realize their dreams too.”
John Corman, president of the Library’s Board of Directors commented that the gift was a wonderful tribute to a very fine person, Pat, who made many outstanding contributions to the Library and the community.
The athletic director of Danville High School, Ron Kanaskie, said “It is an honor for the Danville High School Athletic Department to be a part of a program that will instill young readers to broaden their horizons and discover new interests, improve reading skills and forge a rewarding relationship between the elementary-aged students and their mentors. “Guys Read” will do just that — impact positively a child’s academic performance. “
“The Thomas Beaver Free Library has been blessed by having Pat’s commitment to the Library through her family’s financial resources as well as her dedicated service. Her love of the Library will never be forgotten. We are eternally grateful for her years of support, commitment and vision,” said Bonnie White, Director of the Library.