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Alumni Spotlight

The Apollo-Ridge School District is recognizing our alumni for their significant contributions while attending school and their inspiring accomplishments after graduation. Alumni from Apollo, Elders Ridge, and Apollo-Ridge are eligible for this recognition.


Each month a new graduate will be featured and previous postings will be archived in the strip at right.


In order to submit a nominee, please complete this form. Your contact information is not required, but enables the District to get in touch if additional details or clarifications are necessary.

Tammy PattersonTammy Patterson Manko
Class of 1984

Senior Index—Valhalla 1984

TAMMY SUE PATTERSON                                               Nickname: Tam                                                                    Academic

Shooting Stars: getting lost with Lynne, subsequently, Indonesia, LMBHP, straggling, music, twirling, having great times with friends, fall days, summer, snow, The Park, WAMOS, dependable, honest and trustworthy people, mail, bike riding, food, pig-outs, Mickey D’s, Speech, Novel, PAC trips, feetus, Germany, Ku Dorf, Berlin Youth Hostels, gorgeous Italian men, holidays, vacations, activeness, ARARRARRR, dancing, happiness, Mister Donut, bus 86, football games, singing coat sleeves, performing, terrific friends, glamor gals

Falling Stars: rain, gloomy days, trouble-makers, fights, mean people, jealousy, lies, disloyalty, hunger, boredom, sadness, problems, pressures, WRAP, being sick, mocking, prisses, getting up early, the term “doggin’”, going out with someone that you don’t want to go out with, avoiding, “Talk to me — Talk,” down-grading unfortunate people

Goal: to earn a college degree in Law or Psychology, enjoy life, be happy and successful, and see the world



After graduation, Tammy attended these universities and earned the following degrees:

Doctorate (EdD), Educational Leadership—University of Phoenix

Master of Arts, Student Affairs in Higher Education (Higher Education Administration and Counseling)—IUP

Bachelor of Arts, English (minor: German; pre-law track)—IUP


Tammy currently serves as the Director for IUP’s Career and Professional Development Center and owns MeaningfulLife, LLC, a public speaking and training organization with training and inspirational products and materials


How did Apollo-Ridge help you get where you are? 

I grew up with limited material means, yet I had the richest childhood ever and the best family ever. School was one of the places I felt encouraged and experienced success. I love school and learning to this day! Thus, for me, Apollo-Ridge continues to hold a meaningful place in my heart and in my memories. A-R afforded me a great education and I'm so thankful for this. While K-12 education is a right in the U.S., it's also a privilege -- a privilege to learn and to grow from a child to an adult. What we do with our education is the mark we ultimately leave on this world. Apollo-Ridge provided me a solid foundation in all subject areas, so that I could continue on to college and eventually earn the highest degree possible. My educational foundation was built solidly through the incredibly capable and effective teachers I had at Apollo-Ridge -- primarily in math, English, German, and the sciences. Our teachers were so good that I'd put them up against a private education any day of the week! I was inspired to learn, achieve, and succeed every day by A-R teachers and much of this was because they clearly cared about their students, they made learning fun, and they encouraged us to be successful.

To this day, I remember all of my elementary teachers and most of my middle and high school teachers. I have a long list of those that inspired me: Ms. Glendenning, Mrs. Deemer, Mr. Kunkle, Mrs. Creigh, Mr. Zucchelli, Mr. Watterson, Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Ferrence, Frau Katz (?), Ms. Coulter-Hill , Mr. Bonnelli, Mr. Miedel, Guidance Counselor Mr. Gilbert, Principal Mr. Notto, Mr. Prymack, Mr. Bryja, Mr. Kennedy (though we butted heads a few times !), and Mr. Bartha, I was blessed to learn from these teachers and administrators. 


Any words of wisdom for upcoming grads?

In terms of words of wisdom, I'd say a few, well, several things, some of which you may have heard at one time or another in this life:

  • Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow -- including your mistakes, learn from them
  • Don't anchor your beliefs about yourself in others' opinions of you (unless, of course, those opinions are positive -- in that case, anchor away); ensure you love yourself and that your personal narrative is one of encouragement, determination, and self-belief
  • Always have 3 written goals toward which you're working at any given time...take at least one step toward at least one goal every single day
  • Focus on your strengths, while doing what you can to be better every single day
  • Be a lifelong learner -- and your contributions and success will be limitless
  • Smile -- even when you don't feel like smiling -- you'll feel better and so will those around you + you'll be more likable (there's science to back this up!)
  • Surround yourself with people that you believe are smarter and even more ethical than you'll aspire to be your best self in this way
  • Ask yourself two questions, regularly: What am I willing to do to find the success I seek? What am I willing to give up to reach my goals in this life?
  • Make the most of every opportunity and take reasonable risks..and when you get to some of the places you're journeying to as well as along the way, remember to lend a helping hand to others on their journey
  • Be kind. To everyone. Including yourself. Always. No matter what. It may be lonely on the high road, but at least there are no traffic jams!




D.A.R. Good Citizen Award, 1984; Louise V. Nelson Memorial Scholarship, 1984; Leonard Miller Memorial Scholarship, 1984; National Honor Society, 1983-84 (Treasurer, 1984); Majorette Captain, 1983-84; Homecoming Queen, 1983


Phi Mu Fraternity (sorority) President, 1987-1988;IUP Outstanding Sorority President Award, 1988; IUP Women's Graduate Leadership Award, 1991; Order of Omega Outstanding Advisor Award, 1992; Interfraternity Institute Fellowship Recipient, 1992; AFA Perspectives Publication Award, 1993; Northeast Interfraternity Conference (NEIFC), Assistant Executive Director; Freeport Area Community Center, Board Member & Secretary, 2003-2004; University of Phoenix Doctoral Commencement Speaker, 2010; Keystone Award (leadership) from Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers (PennACE), 2012; University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies Scholarly Publishing Award, 2012; Best Paper Award, International Organization of Social Sciences and Behavioral Research Conference, 2012; Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers Presidential Citation for Outstanding Volunteers, 2013; Pittsburgh Education Recruitment Consortium, Executive Board Member-at-Large, 2013-2016; Western Pennsylvania Career Services Association (WestPACS), Vice President (2017-Present + 2011-2013), President (2013-2015), Past President (2015-2016), Secretary (2016-2017); College to Career (C2C) Conference, Founder & Co-chair (2014-2018); Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers (PennACE), Secretary (2018-Present), Past-President (2013-2015), President (2012-2013), Vice President & Conference Chair (2011-2012); Golden Key International Honour Society, 2016-Present; The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, 2016-Present; WestPACS Warrior Award, 2016; Donna Dentler Service Award, PennACE 2016; Ronald Lunardini Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018, Student Affairs in Higher Education, IUP; various other committees and chairperson roles