COAL TOWNSHIP - Dr. Diane C. Serafin, a longtime employee of Shamokin Area School District, has announced her candidacy for the district's school board.

Serafin holds degrees from both King's College and Lehigh University, including a doctorate. From 1980 to 2012, she was employed as a school counselor at Shamokin Area, and this school year is working as a social studies teacher.

"There is a well-worn instrument case in my Shamokin home. It contains a violin once used by my paternal grandfather who emigrated from Poland to America.

"He supplemented his craftsman's income by playing at ethnic and religious events, eventually saving enough money for the voyage with his wife and infant son. He sought the American dream: democracy and the real opportunity for an education for his children and their descendants. He worked as a miner and a craftsman, owned a small family business, and continued to entertain many with his instrumental finesse.

"His legacy to me, reinforced by my father, is an appreciation for the dignity of honest work, quality craftsmanship, fiscal prudence, continued desire for learning, and the importance of music and the arts as nurturers of our souls and spirits.

"My maternal grandmother was also one of my primary teachers. As she spoke of 'the old country,' she reminded me that many people left their material possessions behind in search of adventure, freedom and education. To her generation, education was integration. her children became the craftsmen and entrepreneurs, the homemakers, bakers and seamstresses. Busia was quick to remind me that what I kept in my mind and heart could never be taken away from me unless I let someone do that to me. By learning as much as I could, and keeping a faith-filled soul, I could equip myself for a lifetime of earnings and service.

"These immigrant values have guided my life's path. As the first in my immediate and extended family to earn a doctoral degree, I fulfilled the dreams of many who came before me. My dissertation was dedicated to my mom's memory, a woman whose own formal education ended in the seventh grade as she worked in a silk mill to supplement the family income. My siblings and I knew we were to learn and earn our way in life; there were to be no 'handouts.' Dad's small business, factory work and employment as an orthotist for Vietnam-era veterans exemplified both determination and his career flexibility to learn and earn.

"I am approaching retirement from education after nearly 35 years as a professional counselor, advisor and teacher at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. As a candidate for school director, I bring to the voters' consideration the following qualities: intelligence, experience in education, an ability and willingness to live within my means, sound decision-making skills, an analytical mind, a love for and appreciation of the arts and music, a desire to improve our own community through legitimate educational opportunities, and a belief in family as the first teachers of our nation's youth.

"Given the choice, I would prefer to build on a family driven work ethic and respect for learning, cautiously using precious resources to then reinforce such attitudes in our school children. Perhaps I am a dreamer, but I believe our community benefits best from attention to craftsmanship, dignity in honest labor, support for the arts and an attitude of educational ambition."