The Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund and Grant Program

In 2016, the State College Area School District Education Foundation established the Student Opportunity Fund to provide financial resources for grant awards to teachers and staff. Since then, the Education Foundation has awarded educators with funds projects that benefit students across the district in academic and extracurricular opportunities.

Upon the passing of longtime SCASD educator Mardi Lowry McDonough, State High ’87, and parent to two State High alumni, her family partnered with the Education Foundation to honor her memory by permanently adding her name to the fund.

“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 former Board President Chris Buchignani.

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.

Donations can be made at

The State College Area School District Education Foundation is committed to enhancing the educational experience of students within the State College Area School District by providing financial support for innovative learning opportunities.

Every gift made to the State College Area Education Foundation helps us in our mission of putting students first. Annual donations help to support a robust educational experience, from a rigorous, competitive curriculum, innovative tools and resources, and enriching extracurricular activities for students in the State College Area School District each and every year. Thank you for enhancing learning opportunities for local students with your annual donation.

Your gift helps:

  • Support student learning opportunities through 100+ co-curricular/extra-curricular organizations. From clubs for young farmers to thespians to avid readers to ping pong players, State College School District offers numerous activities to enhance students’ academic, social, and emotional experiences. Your support will help more students engage in more experiences that interest them.
  • Support development costs for new curricular programs. In an ever-changing technological world, our academic programs must continue offering up-to-date tools, resources, and courses that provide students with the skills they’ll need to succeed in college and in their careers.
  • Provide underprivileged students with access to the co-curricular and extracurricular activities, through programs such as Community Education Extended Learning (CEEL), intramurals, and Sports and Shorts/summer enrichment programs. One such program is the Community Education sponsored Galaxy Explorers (grades 3-5) and Moon Base One (grades 6-8) programs in cooperation with the Federation of Galaxy Explorers. Through this program, students explore space by learning about principles of space science, earth science, rocketry, and more. They work in teams to build an international space station, build and launch a rocket, and conduct experiments that are “out of this world.”
  • Raise awareness for mental health for students within the district. In a day and age where news of bullying, depression, and teen suicide appears in the daily headlines, we are committed to providing a safe, non-judgmental environment that helps students identify mental health issues within the school community and how to get help for themselves or a friend.

2022 Spring Awardees

Delta Middle                                      Musical instruments

Park Forest MS                                 Science Olympiad Engineering

Spring Creek Elementary                  Sensory walkways

Ferguson Twp Elementary                Mindfulness room

Grays Woods Elementary                  Digital microscopes

Mount Nittany Middle                        Art show

State High                                           Community mural project

Easterly Parkway Elementary              Calming corner

State High                                           Survival Science course resource library

State High                                           PA State Envirothon team

State High                                           Unified Bocce Program

State High                                           Skateboard racks