• Judy Ripka: Secretary to the principal, Bellefonte Area High School

    judy20 When asked what the most important thing is in Judy Ripka’s life, she immediately said her family. When asked what some of her favorite activities are, she enthusiastically said spending time with her grandchildren.

    The proud grandma of five -- and one on the way in July -- is a longtime employee of Bellefonte Area School District having worked from 1999 to 2017 as the accounts payable clerk at the district’s central office before transferring about three years ago to Bellefonte Area High School as a secretary in the main office. Prior to fulltime work at the district, she was also a substitute working in the cafeteria, as a paraeducator, in the life skills classrooms, with the custodial staff and more.

    Ripka said the wide range of jobs has helped prepare her the past few years in one that presents something new just about every day.

    “It’s neat getting to know the kids,” she said. “I see them so often and get to know some of them well. The teachers, too – I love the teachers here. Every day is different, which keeps things going.”

    Her regular daily job duties include working with accounts for teachers, helping teachers purchase things that benefit curriculum, helping organize graduation, monitoring the lost-and-found, working with stocking and inventory of the supply closet, posting information on the marquee at the high school, scheduling meetings and more. Growing up, graduating from and working at Bellefonte Area has given Ripka a special appreciation for the district, which she described as “close-knit” and “like family.”

    But as much as she enjoys the daily work grind, nothing is more valuable to her than family. Cooking and baking are other activities she said she enjoys, which also brings the family together for events such as weekly Sunday dinner – and, of course, dessert.

    Ripka, a Pleasant Gap native, also enjoys being active and outdoors, going to the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair, and taking care of her family’s 80-acre farm in the Penns Valley Region of Centre County.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD