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Franklin Regional scholarship established to honor Bob, Rita Duffy

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Robert Duffy and Rita Abdel of West View were killed in were kileld in a traffic pile up along Route I-80 on Feb. 25, 2012. A scholarship in their honor is being introduced this year at Franklin Regional.

About the scholarship

To qualify for the one-time, $1,000 scholarship, a student must plan to attend a trade school, community college or four-year college.

Students must submit an essay explaining how a quote – chosen by the scholarship committee – relates to their growth during high school. The quotes are from Ghandi, Confucius and Albert Einstein.

For more information, see

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By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Bob Duffy dedicated his life to helping students grow academically and personally. A year after he and his wife, Rita, died tragically in a chain-reaction traffic accident, the Duffy family wants to honor the educator by helping the students he worked with.

The Bob and Rita Duffy Memorial Scholarship will be given this spring to a Franklin Regional senior who best reflects academic, social or personal growth during their four years of high school.

It's a fitting tribute, said Joan Mellon, assistant principal at the high school.

“The family felt that Bob and Rita would have wanted to support a student from the high school who had shown a great deal of personal or academic growth over their high school years,” Mellon said. “Bob was always an advocate of students and their personal development. Creating a scholarship that would recognize those attributes he would help students develop really is fitting.”

Bob Duffy was a teacher and administrator at Franklin Regional for nearly 20 years. A former assistant principal at the high school, he was the assistant principal at the middle school at the time of his death. He and his wife were travelling on Route 80 in February 2012 when a tractor trailer crushed their car during a series of accidents caused by whiteout conditions over a 9-mile stretch.

The scholarship is funded by donations from coworkers of the Duffys, their family and by students and families at Franklin Regional. The family wants to celebrate the Duffys, their daughter, Alex, said. At their services, friends and family were asked to wear bright colors to celebrate their happy lives, she said.

“Although losing (my parents) is indescribably saddening and difficult, I feel that it is important to focus on the happy memories we shared and on the many wonderful life lessons they taught me through their example,” Alex Duffy said. “My parents helped me to see that achievement is a process that is different for everyone.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or

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