Local woman inducted into Academic Hall of Fame
MUNCY – On June 6, 2014, within an atmosphere of joyous tears and wide smiles, Dr. Mary Bennardi stood at the podium at the top of the stairs, a small, round microphone at her lips, eyes staring upon her, she glanced downward for a moment before raising her eyes in a light smile. Silence overcame the crowd as her voice began to speak during Muncy High School’s graduation ceremony.
On that bright night, Dr. Mary Bennardi became the 20th member of Muncy High School’s Academic Hall of Fame. “Though there are many who are more deserving than me,” she said as many who witnessed her admittance could not disagree more.
It took longer to read her accomplishments than for Tim Welliver, the Principal of Muncy High School to introduce her. “Muncy is truly blessed to have her,” he said. The only dentist in Sullivan County, the leader of the Wellness Council, and the School Board Vice President of Muncy, there was no surprise to this new admittance. ” She is the perfect role model,” Welliver continued, “And she believes in the blue and white.”
While at the podium, Bennardi remembered certain classmates who graduated with her 30 years ago in 1984. “They all do community service,” she explained. However, there was one friend who spoke five words, which inspired her the most: “You get what you give. If you give kindness, you will receive kindness,” Bennardi smiled. She further explained that by living by the quote, she has been rewarded by smiles and hugs, which are the “best payments.”
Bennardi looked down at the podium as she recalled her senior pictures and the class of 1984. “Those kids look exactly like these,” she said as she looked toward the graduating students, “Just different hair and clothes. But they all had the same goal,” she continued as her eyes filled with small tears and she realized, “I stood at this exact podium at my graduation.”
To Bennardi, it seemed just like yesterday when she was taking her son, Anthony Barberio to kindergarten. And now, years later, she gently kissed him as he received his diploma, a few short minutes after she received her admittance into the Muncy Academic Hall of Fame. On June 6, 2014, a memorable night was experienced by both a young senior, and his proud, ecstatic mother. Muncy School District congratulated them both on their accomplishments.