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Former Ford City teacher honored

| Thursday, July 3, 2014, 12:41 a.m.

A former Ford City High School teacher was recognized for a half-century of serving Armstrong County and a national home economics association last weekend.

Linda Schaeffer, 69, of Burrell received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences during its annual meeting in St. Louis.

She received the award for developing a training program for the association's state affiliates and for helping to expand the New Choices Career Development Center into Armstrong County.

“People don't realize home economics is a lot more than just cooking and sewing,” Schaeffer said. “It includes a variety of fields, like housing and family management, which got me interested in pursuing it.”

Schaeffer joined the association 50 years ago while she was an undergraduate studying home economics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She served as the executive director of the association's Pennsylvania affiliate for 30 years.

Schaeffer earned bachelor's and master's degrees in home economics from IUP. She became a home economics teacher at Ford City High School in 1966, where she helped introduce a child development lab, which is a preschool program supervised by high school students.

She left the school in 1972 when her daughter, Sara, was born and eventually became a part-time home economics teacher at IUP. Schaeffer began working for the New Choices Career Development Center at IUP in 1984. She was its director from 1990 until her retirement in 2002.

“The center targets women, primarily, who found themselves needing employment because their family's main breadwinner died, left or wasn't able to continue working for any reason,” Schaeffer said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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