Governor Thornburgh to Honor Astronomer Ted Pedas
Vindicator astronomy writer Ted Pedas will be one of 10 Pennsylvania eductors to receive an award for exemplary teaching from Gov. Dick Thornburgh Sunday evening at the Hershey Motor Lodge and Founders Hall, Hershey, Pa.
That same evening at the Pennsylvania's Department of Education's special Education Congress ceremony and dinner one of the 10 finalists will be named Pennsylvania's 1981 Teacher of the Year, winning the right to represent the state as its candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Award.
Pedas, a teacher in the Farrell, Pa. School system for the past 11 years, is planetarium director for the Farrell Area School District and a planetarium science education specialist for Youngstown State University.
For the past 15 years Pedas has been writing a weekly astronomy column for The Youngstown Vindicator and has also published free lance articles on astronomy, space science, education and travel. He serves also as a consultant on various science-related travel programs.
He is co-founder of the world-famous Voyages to Darkness Eclipse Cruises organized to study and observe total eclipses of the sun.
Pedas was selected as one of Pennsylvania's 10 finalists by the state department of education's citations and awards committee for his exemplary education utilization of Farrell High School's planetarium facility in the teaching of astronomy and the space sciences.
Department officials said more than 300 of the 129,927 public school teachers in the state were placed in nomination for the statewide annual award.
Robert G. Scanlon, state secretary of education, said Pedas was selected because of his service to education and the community; admiration and respect of students, co-workers and community members; creativity; ability to inspire learning; demonstrated uniqueness in teaching and service to students, and his love for students.
This is the second time Pedas has been a state finalist; two years ago he was named one of six finalists.
Accompanying Pedas to the Education Congress recognition ceremony will be Louis J. Morocco, Farrell school superintendent.
A science education specialist, Pedas makes his home in Farrell. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Youngstown State University and a second master's from Michigan State University.
In addition Pedas has completed post graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley and the State University of New York at Oswego.
He serves the Farrell school system as a planetarium, astronomy and space science instructor for grades one through twelve. He is also certified as a guidance counselor and school administrator.
Praising the personal interest and dedication of Pedas, Morocco said Pedas has contributed 20 percent of his annual salary some $25,000 to date for the expansion and upgrading of the unique learning facility in Farrell. Almost single handedly he has turned the Farrell planetarium into one of the finest in Pennsylvania, if not the nation.
Former astronaut Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth, said, Ted is eminently entitled to the award.
Pedas also serves as a science curriculum and planetarium educator for the Youngstown public schools as well as school systems in other Ohio and Pennsylvania communities.
Pedas has received other honors this year, including being nominated for the Pennsylvania Governor's award for Excellence in the Arts and the Shenango Valley Jaycee's Distinguished Service Award. Last Year he received the education award of the Farrell American Legion Post 160.
His other honors include: two City of Farrell proclamations for his outstanding accomplishments, the Farrell Kiwanis Club's citizen of the year award for leadership; the Farrell Bicentennial Commission's recognition for community service; the U.S. Department of State's award for service in international education and the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerc's distinguished educator award.
He is an active member of a score of professional organizations.
The theme of this year's Congress will be Technology and School Improvement. Featured speaker will be Louis Rubin, professor at the University of Illinois.
During Monday's program participants will attend three workshops dealing with specific aspects of school improvement and applications of computer and telecommunications technologies.
November 6, 1980
By Paul W. Horn, Associate Editor
For the second time in three years, Ted Pedas, planetarium director at Farrell Area Senior High School, has been nominated for the prestigious award of Pennsylvania Educator of the Year. The winner will be named Sunday at a special Educational conference in Hershey, with Gov. Dick Thornburgh making the award, and then go on to represent the state in the national competition.
According to the latest count made by the state Department of Education, Pennsylvania employs 129,927 public school teachers. From this group, 300 were nominated for the award, with the selection of 10 finalists, among them Pedas, made by the department's Citations and Awards Committee.
Pedas was chosen for the honor in recognition of what the committee said was his exemplary utilization of Farrell High School's planetarium in the teaching of astronomy and space science. Under his direction, the planetarium has become one of the best known such scholastic facility in the nation. Its periodic stellar and space shows over the years have been viewed, in addition to students from throughout the area, by thousands of adults, many of whom have come from considerable distance.
The Herald, of course, is delighted with Pedas' selection, particularly since he is a frequent and valued contributor to these pages. His lucid and informative articles have brought to his readers an understanding of the vast void surrounding the planet earth.
Two years ago Pedas competed with five other finalists for the state award. As he awaits Sunday's announcement, The Herald extends him its best wishes and congratulations. He has brought honor not only upon himself but upon his school district and the entire Shenango Valley Community.
We hope the Farrell Area School District will permit The Herald to share a measure of its pride in the achievement of Ted Pedas in being named a Pennsylvania Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Pedas and others were honored at a formal recognition luncheon in Harrisburg addressed by Gov. Richard Thornburgh.
Pedas is no stranger to readers of The Herald. His columns on astronomy and the sciences are a regular and welcome part of this newspaper, explaining in understandable language the fascinating albeit complex world outside our world. In addition, his visual demonstrations of the wonders of the universe presented in the Farrell High Schoool planetarium of which he is the director, over the years have delighted and enlighted hundreds.
Pedas qualified for the honor accorded him because of his service to education and the community; admiration and respect of students, co-workers and members of the community, as well as demonstrated uniqueness in teaching and service to students. The Herald concurs in all this, but would like to add that Pedas has broadened for thousands more not only their understanding of but interest in the void surrounding this globe, which is called the earth.
E-mail: Ted Pedas