Plum Center Elementary teacher named Champion of Learning |

Plum Center Elementary teacher named Champion of Learning

Michael DiVittorio
Courtesy of Plum School District
JR Pilyih

Plum School District Center Elementary fourth-grade teacher J.R. Pilyih was recently named one of several Champions of Learning.

Awards were presented by the Consortium for Public Education and the United Way of Southern Pennsylvania at an event earlier this month.

The recognition is designed to spotlight outstanding individuals and groups that strive to support youth.

Categories included leadership, educators, school staff, volunteers and providers/community partners.

“I am humbled,” Pilyih said. “To be in a room with such extraordinary people doing extraordinary work for the youth in Allegheny County was an honor. I was very happy that the extra work teachers do for students outside of the classroom is recognized by the Consortium and United Way.”

Pilyih was nominated for his innovative ideas such as the student-run business Center Grows. The program uses hydroponics, aquaponics and worm composting, all possible through grant funding. He had a similar program last school year at the now-closed Regency Park Elementary.

The program teaches students about agriculture, life skills and how to run a business, along with making money for the classroom and other projects.

“This award really goes to all the students and parents of Plum,” Pilyih said. “They really allow me to make this all possible. The parents have been very supportive over the past two years allowing students to stay after school or come in before school at times. They are our best customers, and the kids really want to be part of it and their enthusiasm makes me keep going.”

Other award winners included Melting Pot Ministries Executive Director Brenda Lockley, East Allegheny School District teacher Holly Spallone, Jewish Family and Community Services Volunteer Coordinator Andrew Treeck, Chartiers Valley School District custodian Dona Gaudio and Urban Impact Foundation volunteer Abbie Manges.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Plum
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