Mary Vancas: Taking Time to Smell the Flowers

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Elementary paraprofessional Mary Vancas has retired after a 40-year career in education, with her last 12 years of service to the Tyrone Area School District. 

Before joining the Tyrone Elementary staff in 2009, Vancas served in many jobs related to early childhood education, including positions at Family Services, Head Start, and Family Literacy Programs. 

On our kitchen window sill I keep a stained-glass message and it reads ‘Along the Way…Take Time to Smell the Flowers.’ That is what I hope to do while I am retired”

— Mary Vancas

Vancas graduated from Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School and furthered her education at Penn State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture. Her husband Ed is a vocational education teacher at Tyrone High School with over 40 years of service. 

At Tyrone, Vancas was responsible for helping students and teachers in their everyday lessons and classroom duties. Vancas worked in Renee Jamison’s first-grade classroom for 10 years.

“Mary is such a phenomenal teacher.  She was incredibly creative and was always bringing fun games and songs to her lessons. Many students have benefited from her enthusiasm, knowledge, and expertise,” said Jamison. 

Vancas loved to help the students and the teachers in the classroom.

“Anytime I was able to present an activity and I found out later that I was able to help a student, a teacher or one of my colleagues really was music to my ears,” said Vancas. 

While Vancas is excited to enjoy her retirement, there are many things she will miss about working at Tyrone Elementary.

“I will miss all the positive experiences I have shared with students and staff. The fun experiences I shared with students and remembering the times I was able to make a child laugh or smile will always bring back happy memories to me,” said Vancas. 

Mary has many things planned for her retirement, including spending more time with her husband Ed and their two dogs, Norman and Irene.

“Mary is an unbelievably kind and caring person. She loved working with the students and staff at Tyrone. After 40 years of marriage I am blessed to be her husband and friend,” said Ed Vancas.

Mr. and Mrs. Vancas plan to spend time walking on Rails and Trails, reading, listening to music, dancing polkas, doing arts and crafts, and many home projects. 

Vancas’s positive outlook on life and kind heart will be missed dearly by TASD students and staff but because of those qualities, she will enjoy her retirement that much more. 

“On our kitchen window sill I keep a stained-glass message and it reads ‘Along the Way…Take Time to Smell the Flowers.’ That is what I hope to do while I am retired,” said Vancas.