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School principal took job when 'time was right'

December 05, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

MOUNT AETNA

marlob@herald-mail.com

After a stint as a stay-at-home mother and several years as a part-time teacher, Kandace Zollman is working full time again, as the principal of Mount Aetna Adventist Elementary School.

Zollman, who took the position in October, is convinced she made the right move.

"The time was right," she said, adding that prayer played an important role in her decision.

Zollman, 47, is married to Frank Zollman, pastor of Williamsport Seventh-day Adventist Church. They have two children, Allison, 20, and Nathan, 15.

As principal, Zollman is in charge of the school, which has approximately 95 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Students can move up to Highland View Academy, which has grades 9 through 12 and is just a mile away on Mount Aetna Road.

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Both schools are supported by tuition paid by the families of the students.

"I get so many gifts - pictures, a Sweet Tart, a soggy Goldfish cracker - that's why I'm in this work," she said.

A teacher since college, Zollman earned her undergraduate degree from Andrews University in Michigan and her master's in counseling at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

Her predecessor was Bob Mulkern, who has gone back into teaching.

In addition to her principal duties, Zollman is a Bible teacher at the school.

Translating religious principles into the classroom and beyond is one of the big challenges for Zollman and her staff. As the 2005 holiday season nears, for example, she thinks back to a time 17 years ago when it was decided that children had become too consumed with getting gifts.

"Instead, we got names from the community to give gifts to the needy," Zollman said.

Those efforts have continued and expanded, with the children coming up with ideas on their own to raise money for a variety of causes, both at home and around the world.

There have been car washes, garage sales and a recent leaf-raking project that raised money for Pakistan. Nearly $2,000 was raised in all of those efforts, which also aided people affected by the hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.

A food drive, which took in 701 items as well as $107 in cash for fresh food, was given to Adventist Community Services in Hagerstown in time for Thanksgiving, Zollman said.

As a visual testament to these projects, the staff and students have made use of a world map that graces one whole wall in a classroom at the school. There are large red hearts pinned to every place in the world where the children have sent aid in one form or another.

There are now as many hearts on that map as reasons why Zollman said she is glad she is in her new role.

"It's like keeping plates spinning. It's been an interesting journey, not an easy one," she said.

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