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Caption: Alan Colvin

By Lori Padilla
Contributing Writer

CONNELLSVILLE — Conn-Area Catholic School has been shaping the lives of its students for over 50 years, always with the same goal — to instill and encourage a loving relationship with God that fosters the importance of service to others.

Judy Parr Forsythe and her sister, the late Jeanie Parr Humbert, were products of Immaculate Conception High School. Upon retiring, Forsythe and Humbert became involved in cleaning up the garden area around Immaculate Conception Parish and its rectory. During that time, the Conn-Area Catholic School library became their passion. The sisters cleaned, mended and organized books.

“My sister and I couldn’t think of a better place to volunteer our time than going and helping at Conn-Area,” Forsythe said.

She said her early Catholic education inspired her to work with Conn-Area and its students. She plans to be involved with the school as long as she is able.

“I have always practiced my religion by serving at the church. Service wasn’t exactly a focus in my career, but what better way to continue that early seed of service planted than to use my time now helping at Conn-Area,” she said.

Forsythe worked at the school as supervisor of the extended care program and this year became the official librarian.

Her daughter, Janine, attended Conn Area Catholic School. She said she believes it is important for a child to have a Catholic education.

“I feel that these early years are for building the foundation of service to others. It is good for keeping children in line with what is going on,” she said.

Dedication to service was also ingrained in Alan Colvin, who attended Conn-Area Catholic School and graduated from Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School, Connellsville. After graduation, Colvin attended West Point and eventually moved to North Carolina.

“I have always wanted to serve in the military, having my father as a core example of that choice, but I think a good part of my early Catholic education has allowed me to make what I feel are good and ethical decisions, especially when it affects those who were under my charge and their families,” Colvin said.

After serving 10 years in the military, Colvin studied to become a physician assistant, which allowed him to reflect on that early education during philosophy and religious doctrine classes.
“That upbringing has continued to be very influential in my decision-making. I have always wanted to lead a life of service,” he said.

Sister of Charity Catherine Meinert, former principal of Conn-Area Catholic School, watched Colvin grow in the doctrines of the school.

“Alan has always been surrounded by love and discipline with his mother, a teacher at Conn-Area Catholic School, and his father, also serving in the military. They emulate love, service and caring, which Alan is extending by his current career path,” she said.

“Catholic education supports the family unit at home and in the community. It reminds the child that as Catholics, this is who we are and what we do.”