During the recent Bucks County Commissioners meeting, Diane Ellis-Marseglia, Bob Harvie and Gene DiGirolamo had a lot to celebrate, including two standout local students and a new Parks and Recreation director.
The trio recognized Newtown native Richard Fang, a recent graduate of Council Rock High School North, and Richlandtown’s Raymond Slifer, a graduate of Upper Bucks County Technical School. They were among 161 students nationwide to be named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars.
“It’s incredibly difficult to become a presidential scholar,” said Harvie. “To have two here in Bucks County is really fantastic, and we want to make sure we honor them.”
Harvie and his fellow commissioners presented Fang and Slifer with letters of commendation and wished them luck on their future endeavors.
Fang and Slifer were selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars for their academic success and community involvement.
For his Council Rock High School North class, Fang served as vice president. When in-person classes resumed following COVID-19 shutdowns, he formed a coalition to install hand-sanitizing stations in the cafeteria to help keep his peers safe.
Additionally, Fang was team captain of the debate and tennis teams, as well as first chair and section lead for the band’s saxophone players. When school was out for the summer, he participated in several programs, including the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and a root-seeking camp in Beijing, China. He also regularly donates his time to volunteering.
Fang plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall with aspirations of going to medical school.
As for Slifer, he’s the first student in Pennsylvania to reach the U.S. Presidential Scholar status for his designated technical abilities.
“Certainly, as someone who taught at a technical high school for almost 20 years, I understand the value of that kind of education,” said Harvie. “It’s really a great honor to see it recognized because too often, it’s not recognized, even in our community.”
Slifer is an Eagle Scout and junior firefighter serving his community at the Richlandtown Fire Company. He combined his passion for the firehouse and design skills to build 36 new gear lockers for the men and women of the fire company as his Eagle Scout project.
In the fall, Slifer plans to transfer to the Pennsylvania College of Technology to major in manufacturing engineering after completing Bucks County Community College’s Technical Entrepreneurship Program.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars program began in 1964 by executive order of the president to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was expanded to include students in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, it was again expanded to recognize students in the career and technical fields.
After commending Fang and Slifer, the commissioners announced the appointment of Angela Nagle, a college athletics and recreation administrator for more than 15 years, as director of the county Parks and Recreation Department.
In her role, the soon-to-be Middletown Township resident will oversee the state’s third-largest county parks system, which boasts more than 9,000 acres of recreational land across eight parks and three nature centers, 80 full-time and seasonal employees, and an annual operating budget of about $4 million.
“Angela’s qualifications and experience in campus recreation, along with her effective management style, are the perfect combination,” said county director of operations Kevin Spencer. “I am excited as Angela joins our team to carry the torch forward.”
Nagle is filling the shoes of longtime parks director William Mitchell, who retired in April after more than 30 years at the department’s helm. The county park administration building, located in Core Creek Park off Bridgetown Pike in Langhorne, is named in his honor.
The former assistant athletics director at Saint Joseph’s University and director of campus recreation at La Salle University is excited to get started.
“Our parks, nature centers, recreational facilities and historic properties provide wonderful opportunities for residents to engage in essential wellness activities,” said Nagle. “I am thrilled to have the chance to continue the work of my esteemed predecessor and lead our team to improve the parks and recreation experience for the residents of Bucks County.”
Her educational background includes two degrees from Temple University – a bachelor’s degree in athletics and recreation management and a master’s degree in education with a focus on athletics and recreation administration. Nagle also earned the collegiate recreational sports professional credential and is a certified pool operator.
Nagle is an active member of the National Recreation and Park Association, National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society and National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org