The winners have been chosen in the 2020 Upper Dublin Medals Program in four categories. Selected this year are: Margaret (Meg) Place, educator; Ronald (Ron) Feldman, citizen (posthumously); Inter-faith Housing Alliance, non-profit organization; and Amy Gong and Annie Cheng, Upper Dublin High School seniors. Recipients are chosen from nominations received from the community, with the final decision made by nine-member selection committees comprised of representatives from among the four partnering groups.
The Selection Committee chooses one full-time teacher or administrator who has made a significant contribution to the educational process. The individual possesses the ability to communicate, motivate, and relate to students toward educational achievement.
Chosen this year is Meg Place, who has served Upper Dublin for almost 25 years as a kindergarten and 5th grade teacher, director of gifted services, and as principal of Jarrettown Elementary School.
Nominated by colleagues and parents, the overwhelming theme of the nominations highlighted that she always puts the needs of her students and staff first. Education is her life's calling and the passion and dedication she puts forth has made a lasting impact and given all students a meaningful learning experience.
Many nominators noted that she greets everyone who enters the school with a friendly smile, knows each child by name and is a welcome visitor in all the classrooms. As Place will be retiring at the end of this school year and will be sorely missed, it is fitting that she is recognized for this year’s outstanding educator.
The selection committee chooses an individual in recognition of exemplary service with long-term involvement or special achievements that benefited the entire Upper Dublin community.
This year, the committee posthumously chose Ron Feldman, who was an Upper Dublin Commissioner for 14 and one-half years. Feldman was graduated from Upper Dublin High School in 1980 and settled here with his wife, Jill, and later on, their three daughters. He passed away much too soon in June, 2019 at the age of 57 following an almost two year battle with cancer
Elected as a township commissioner in 2004, he vigorously and adeptly represented the best interests of his constituents serving as board vice-president for many years. Feldman served productively on numerous committees and task forces and was the chair of many of them. He served on the steering committee on redevelopment and economic investment in the Fort Washington Office Park. As a successor to that committee, he was appointed as a representative on the General Municipal Authority, formed in September 2016 and charged with managing ongoing office park improvement programs to enhance commercial tax ratables thereby reducing or stabilizing residential tax increases.
In his role as a commissioner, he helped guide the way through the construction of two Flood Retarding Structures, was a leader in replacement and renovation of the fire houses, the development of SPARK fields, and the relocation of the public library.
The medals program recognizes a non-profit organization that has contributed significantly to enhancing opportunities or improving the quality of life for local citizens.
The recipient this year is the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance (IFHA), which has served the community for 38 years and has grown to include the Inter-Faith Hospitality Network, Hope Gardens and Hope Forest, permanent space that bridge the gap from temporary to permanent housing.
The ongoing programs are partially subsidized by local churches and synagogues. In 2019, along with 1,300 community volunteers, the IFHA provided 14,210 nights of shelter for 23 families, which included 43 children. Inter-Faith also helped 1,750 individuals to access its food cupboard. Due to the COVID-19 virus and job layoffs, IFHA opened its cupboard to residents of Upper Dublin and the surrounding communities.
One nominator wrote, “I admire how these programs are run so smoothly during a chaotic time in the lives of others. It is also run with open hearts and gentle love. We are all one situation away from being homeless. The staff at Inter-Faith and the aligned churches does not judge anyone and hundreds of lives are transformed.”
Another nomination stated, “I started out by making one meal for families (two from Upper Dublin and one from Abington) – three moms and nine kids. Their stories broke my heart and their resilience touched my heart. One of the kids was in middle school and an avid fan of Harry Potter books. He didn’t own many books but he did have a library card and always seemed to have a book in his hand. I overheard his mom telling him that she could not afford the newest Potter book and that he would need to wait until it was at the library. That night I bought it for him and if you could have seen his face …it was as if I had given him gold.”
Amy Gong, outstanding student, has a cumulative GPA of 4.722. Her list of advanced placement coursework includes biology, calculus, computer science and principles, Spanish, and English literature, language, and composition. She is a National Merit Scholar Finalist, an AP Scholar with Honors, and the winner of the 2020 Philadelphia Area NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award. She ran on the high school cross country and track teams for four years. Additionally, during the off-season, she stays active by kickboxing. She is the secretary of the National Honors Society, an intern at the Upper Dublin Public Library, and president of the high school library media club. She plans to attend Cornell University and major in computer science.
Annie Cheng, outstanding student, has a cumulative GPA of 4.732. Her coursework includes AP physics, AP English literature and composition, AP Latin, and AP European history. She was recognized as a National Merit Finalist, a National AP Scholar, and a member of the National Honor Society. She is the president of the Latin Club and Science Olympiad, as well as the vice president of the chemistry club. Annie enjoys playing the violin and is currently concertmistress of the Philadelphia Sinfonia. Annie also runs a fundraiser called Origami for Hope, which sells handmade origami and donates all proceeds to UNICEF. Through Origami for Hope, Cheng has raised more than $1,600. She plans to study physics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Student nominees included Oliver Berman, Matthew Michels, Laura Pendleton, and David Wolf. All of the six nominated outstanding students are selected by the high school faculty and presented to the nine-member selection committee.
About the program
The annual medals program is presented by four partnering groups: Upper Dublin Township; the Fort Washington Business Alliance; the Upper Dublin School District; and the Upper Dublin Education Foundation, which benefits from event proceeds.
The Upper Dublin Medals virtual ceremony will be broadcast live on June 14 at 7 p.m. on the Upper Dublin School District You Tube Channel. Winners, presenters, sponsors and former medalists will be highlighted during the program. Visit udefoundation.org.
The winners will be honored on Sunday, June 14 at 7 pm on Upper Dublin School District's YouTube channel.
Every year, since 1985, the Upper Dublin Medals Program has recognized outstanding Upper Dublin community members including two UDHS seniors, a citizen, educator, and a local business or non-profit organization. The Upper Dublin Medals Program is a cooperative venture by Upper Dublin School District, Upper Dublin Township, FWBA, and the Upper Dublin Education Foundation, which benefits from event proceeds.
The 2020 Planning Committee included Glenn Griffin, President, Fort Washington Business Alliance; Kathy Disque, Coordinator, Fort Washington Business Alliance; Michelle Boas, Executive Director, Upper Dublin Education Foundation; Jeff Wallack, Ex Officio Board Member, Upper Dublin Education Foundation; Steven Yanni, Superintendent, UDSD; Brooke Evans, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent; Art Levinowitz, School Board Director, UDSD; Susan Lohoefer, Facility & Community Affairs Manager, UDSD; Paul Leonard, Manager, Upper Dublin Township, and Rebecca Lohoefer-Mahon, Communications Coordinator, Upper Dublin Township.