Mom, dad, daughter on Millersville’s grad list

By on May 8, 2019

From Millersville University

Getting a good education requires hard work, dedication and discipline, but could you imagine the amount of support shared when going through this journey as a family?

Three members of the Szobocsan family — Steve, Kristy and their daughter Whitney — currently attend Millersville University (MU).

Steve Szobocsan and Kristy Szobocsan are both doctoral students in MU’s educational leadership program and Whitney Szobocsan is an undergraduate majoring in social work. This weekend, both parents will be hooded at the graduate commencement ceremony and their daughter will receive her bachelor’s degree at the undergraduate ceremony. Kristy and Steve have completed all three of their degrees together. They each have a bachelor’s of science degree in health and physical education from Lock Haven University in 2006, a master’s in educational leadership with a principal’s certificate from Wilkes University in 2010, and both hold their Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility. Steve Szobocsan defended his dissertation on March 4 and his wife completed her Ed.D in December 2018.

“I felt an incredible sense of relief. I am very proud of this tremendous accomplishment,” says Kristy Szobocsan. “It was special to be able to defend in front of numerous members of my family, friends, colleagues and even my kindergarten teacher! The date also has significance to me because it was my grandfather’s birthday and he was always my biggest supporter. Although, I didn’t enter this program with the goal of being MU’s first Ed. Leadership doctorate, it is pretty neat that I am.”

Both husband and wife have been principals in the Warwick School District since 2016. Kristy Szobocsan is the principal of Warwick High School and her husband is the principal of Warwick Middle School.

Members of the Szobocsan family receiving degrees from Millersville University this weekend are (left to right) Steve, Kristy, and Whitney. Photo by Jackie Yanchocik.

“Being a principal is a job that comes with many responsibilities, but also provides us with so much opportunity to help kids grow and develop. We take pride in dedicating ourselves to these positions. We are blessed to work in a school district that has an incredibly supportive community to go along with amazing students,” says Steve Szobocsan. “Additionally, we are supported and pushed to continue our educational growth as leaders by Superintendent Dr. April Hershey, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Melanie Calender, and Director of Secondary Education Dr. Ryan Axe. We work with amazing teachers and staff that genuinely care about our kids. There is honestly nothing better than being able to celebrate an accomplishment with a student.”

Whitney Szobocsan transferred to MU in the fall of 2016. Her mother joined the first cohort of students to begin the doctoral program in the summer of 2015 and her father began doctoral courses during the following summer in 2016.

“These degrees have enabled us to continue in our maturation as educational leaders. We value the concept of continued education and want to ensure that we are modeling this for both our staff and students,” says Kristy Szobocsan. “Although these degrees will open many doors for us both we love our current jobs.”

“The educational journey for the three of us has all been different at MU. Although the process has been different we have been able to support each other throughout. Whitney has been incredibly independent with obtaining her degree, but did lean on us every once in a while. Kristy and I could compare notes about courses and professors because we were taking classes opposite each other.

It was also neat that Dr. Karen Rice, department chair of social work, was on Kristy’s dissertation committee and taught Whitney in class,” says Steve Szobocsan.

“We are proud of where we are in life and are humbled by the journey. We are thankful that we have had a strong support system including family, friends and colleagues that have instilled the importance of education and hard work into our lives. We want to ensure that we infuse these same values in our children: Whitney, MaKenzie and Kolby. Hard work pays off, anything is possible, caring for others matters and being kind will take you far in life!” says the pair.

“I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Kristy, Steve and Whitney directly and indirectly during their time at Millersville,” says Dr. Oliver Dreon, associate professor at MU. “Their achievements are impressive. But I think what characterizes their family the most is their shared vision as scholars, as leaders and as public servants.”

The graduate ceremony is set for Friday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Pucillo gym.

The undergraduate ceremony is set for Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. in Biemesderfer Stadium.

About Cory Van Brookhoven

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