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A lifelong resident of State College, Mardi graduated from State High in 1987. She spent her 27 years in the State College Area School District teaching 6th grade Math, English, and Science, starting at Ferguson Township Elementary and then at Park Forest Middle School. Mardi’s daughters are also State High graduates.

“In recognition of her own experience, the experiences of her daughters Colleen and Grace, her exemplary career as a teacher, and her honorable service to teachers and the community, the Education Foundation board is privileged to name this fund and program in Mardi’s honor,” said Board President Chris Buchignani. “We are delighted that we are able to work with her family on this opportunity to continue to impact our students, teachers and the entire State College community through this fund and grant program.”

Mardi’s family will attend an annual gathering with grant winners to celebrate their initiative and achievements. Also, in recognition of Mardi’s membership in the High School Concert and Marching Bands and her love of music, the Education Foundation plans to award at least one grant each cycle to a music department, music program, or music group-related request.

Mardi is survived by her husband, Nick Downs, and two daughters, Colleen Eireann McDonough and Grace Aine McDonough, all of State College; step-daughter, Sierra Downs of Boston, MA; father, Lee Lowry of State College and mother, Carol Spangler of Huntingdon, PA. Also survived by her brother, Eric Lowry (Dr. Marta Villaraga) and nieces, Sofia and Isabela of Ardmore, PA.

Read the beautiful story of Mardi’s life here.

The Education Foundation offers heartfelt condolences to Mardi's family. It's a privilege to name the Student Opportunity Fund and Grant Program in her honor.