Ambridge Area School District

901 Duss Avenue, Ambridge PA 15003 | 724.266.2833


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The Ambridge Area School Counseling Department's Advisory Council K-12 held its inaugural meeting on Friday, Nov. 15 at Ambridge Area High School. The council is designed to provide a partnership with members of the local community to increase meaningful opportunities for K-12 students in career exploration and development. 


During the meeting, a team of school administrators and school counselors strived to showcase how the K-12 career activities at Ambridge Area School District provide a comprehensive process for student development in career awareness, exploration and pllanning. Participation and feedback from the community was solicited and included representatives from local businesses, nonproft organizations, associations and postsecondary institutions, pertaining to activities and experiences that will enhance the job-readiness skills and post-graduate opportunities for students. 


The Advisory Committee plans to meet three times annually. The committee will reconvene in Spring 2020 to review goal progress, and again in the Fall of 2020. 



The 2019-2020 School Year is well underway. Joining the Ambridge Area School District this year are some new and talented individuals. To learn more about the AASD team, check out this detailed biographic here.

Addie Lucatorto


After spending most of her career in inter-collegiate athletics, Addie Lucatorto decided it was time to make a change to a setting that was more student-focused.

On June 20, the Ambridge Area School District offered Ms. Lucatorto the opportunity she was seeking, hiring her as the District’s new Athletic Director. Ms. Lucatorto replaces Mr. Brian Miller, who resigned from the position in March.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with younger student athletes,” Ms. Lucatorto said. “I have missed being in a position where the welfare of the student athlete is a primary mission of the institution. At this level, adults can truly make a positive impact on young people’s lives.”

Ms. Lucatorto said some of her best memories of growing up were when she was busy in high school with sports, drama, choir and numerous clubs. “Those opportunities set me on my path. People never told me that I couldn’t achieve my goals. They helped me to find the way to achievement. I have worked to mentor in the same way that I was blessed to be mentored.”

She began her career as an athletic trainer and spent time working daily with student athletes. She then moved into a more administrative role as a Senior Woman Administrator with Robert Morris University. Ms. Lucatorto served in her most recent position of Associate Athletic Director with Robert Morris University from 2006 through 2019.

Ms. Lucatorto prides herself on being a critical thinker who will ask the tough questions so that solutions can be found to any situation. With only a month on the job, Ms. Lucatorto jumped right into the planning for Homecoming Weekend, which includes a community pep rally on Thursday, Sept. 19 and the big parade and game, scheduled for Friday, September 20. The full schedule of events for Homecoming weekend will be announced soon. She also has had a hand in planning and organizing the first annual Bridger Back-to-School Kick-Off celebration, planned for noon to 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 19 at Wright Field House.

Something the AASD community can expect from Ms. Lucatorto is a growing presence for AASD athletics on the athletics website and social media. She plans to provide snapshots about athletic events, AASD athletes and other important information on the Twitter and Facebook accounts. She has also made it a priority to launch an AASD Athletics Instagram account for the purpose of sharing photos of our athletes and athletic events and accomplishments.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Addie’s skill set and experience in this position,” said Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter. “She truly cares about the well-being and overall success of our student athletes, not just on the field, but off the field as well.”

Ms. Lucatorto said she has felt very comfortable transitioning into her new role, and credits the Ambridge community for the ease in which she has been able to make the change. “The Ambridge community has been incredibly welcoming. I have met a lot of wonderful people that are committed to giving the students in AASD a positive athletic experience.”

Follow the Ambridge Bridgers Athletic website for the most up-to-date news on all AASD athletics and athletes.


During the 2018 Commencement Ceremony, held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at Ambridge High School, four new members of the Ambridge Hall of Honor were inducted.


Superintendent Dr. Jo Welter introduced the four new inductees. They are:




Dr. Ken Cirka-1989 Graduate

Dr. Cirka is a 1989 graduate of the AASD. Dr. Cirka received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Grove City College and a Master of Arts degree from Slippery Rock University. He attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he received his Doctorate of Dental Medicine. Dr. Cirka is a cosmetic dentist who was named "Best of Philadelphia," America's Best Dentist,Life MagazineTop Dentist and a six-year recipient of Consumer Research Council's Top Dentist award he is the senior dentist and owner of Philadelphia Dentistry.

In addition, Dr. Cirka is a philanthropist and is active with the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, Feeding America and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Additional volunteerism and charity include Mom and PA dental, Purses Full of Hope, AIDSWalk, Have a Heart, Feeding America and Share Food Program.




Mrs. Karen Larrimer-1980 Graduate

Mrs. Karen (Petcash) Larrimer, a 1980 AASD graduate, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Point Park University. She is currently the executive vice president, head of retail banking and chief customer officer of The PNC Financial Services Group. Mrs. Larrimer is the first female chairwoman of the board for the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and a board and executive committee member of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

Mrs. Larrimer has been recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking byAmerican BankerMagazine (2017, 2016, ,2015); was selected to receive a Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award by the National Diversity Council's Pennsylvania Awards Committee (2014); and was a finalist  for the 2014 Athena Award. She received the Girl Scouts of America Award of Distinction in Business (2013) and was named "Mother of the Year" (2010) by the national publicationWorking Mother.She also was named a"Women Worth Watching"byDiversity Journalin 2009 and was one of the Best 50 Women in Business in Pennsylvania in 2003.




Capt. Charles D. Rowley-1952 Graduate

Capt. Charles D. Rowley is receiving this honor posthumously. A 1952 graduate, Capt. Rowley retired after 30 years of service in the United States Navy. After graduating from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, he completed seven deployments, including two tours of duty and more than 160 missions during the Vietnam War. The Commanding Officer of the Naval Training Center from 1985 to 1990, Capt. Rowley was responsible for 1,300 people. He also was the Director of Computer Resources and Avionics with the Navy as well as the principal and chairman of the Joint Services Review Committee for Avionics.

Capt. Rowley's personal service awards include: the Distinguished Flying Cross; Meritorious Service Medal; National Defense Medal; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross; Armed Services Expeditionary Medal; and 12 Air Medal Strike/Flight Awards.




Ms. Rhonda Wozniak-1979 Graduate

Ms. Rhonda Wozniak is a 1979 AASD graduate. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Colorado at Denver; her Master of Arts Degree in Art Conservation from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo; and her Certificate of Advanced Studies in the Conservation of Marine Archaeological Objects at the Western Australian Maritime Museum. Ms. Wozniak was the objects conservator and only female crew member aboard the 1994 RMS Titanic expedition that recovered over 400 artifacts from the shipwreck under the direction of IFREMER, the French Oceanographic Institute. The expedition was featured as a National Geographic documentary. Ms. Wozniak lived and worked in France for two years as the primary conservator to prepare the Titanic objects for world-wide exhibit. Rhonda also held the post of Objects Conservator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh for ten years, and now owns and operates her own MWBE certified art conservation laboratory in Pittsburgh.


The Hall of Honor was established to commend outstanding Ambridge Area School District alumni for their accomplishments, successes, service to others and state or national awards. In order to be eligible for nomination, alumni must meet the following criteria: they must have made a significant community contribution and/or career-related accomplishment. One-time distinctions or awards may be appropriate if they were given at a state or national level. The primary goal of the Hall of Honor is to have our current students aspire to the greatness that other Ambridge Area graduates have achieved," said Dr. Welter. "Those successful graduates add to our greatness and allow us to encourage and motivate current students toward future aspirations."


Information about the Hall of Honor is available here.




We would like to thank all the parents, guardians, students and staff members that helped make the First Annual Transition night a wonderful success at Ambridge Area High School! We would also like to thank all the agencies and speakers that attended to help contribute to the night! As the night consisted of planning future academic areas and pathways that included our Beaver County Career and Technology Center, Trades, Advance Placement and Dual Enrollment classes, we were thrilled to see the students excited and invested in their futures while learning about their future academic/career curriculums! On behalf of the Ambridge Area School District, we are excited to see where all the wonderful future plans will take your student as we continue to welcome the upcoming class of 2022 to the High School! 


For your reference, the 2018 – 2019 Transition Night Presentation, 2018 – 2019 Course Flow Charts and the 2018 – 2019 Course of Studies Book is now listed at: > Schools > Senior High School > Left hand side: Guidance Tab > Scheduling.  It is also listed under the Course Selection Book tab.  The High School team also re-visited the Junior High the following day to answer any follow up questions and referenced this location for all students! Please feel free to use the information as needed for future planning!


In order to continue preparing for the transition to high school for the class of 2022, future upcoming events in the Spring and Summer will include: 8th- 9th grade move-up day: All students will be able to explore the high school as a class and learn about the programs, meet and greet the school counselor and high school staff, and explore what the high school has to offer.  Freshman Orientation: Parents and guardians will be able to explore and review expectations at the high school, understand graduation and class requirements in addition meet all high school staff while walking through their student’s schedules. Details on the dates will follow!

We once again would like to thank the parents/guardians, students, community agencies and staff for taking time to explore the High School curriculum as we continue to prepare for a wonderful future of academics and career explorations! Best wishes at this time for a wonderful Holiday break!


Reference:  The 2018-2019 Transition Night Presentation, 2018-2019 Course Handouts and Course Catalogue is now listed at: > Schools > Senior High School > Left hand side: Guidance Tab > Scheduling.




Above: Student Council Members that assisted with the 2017-2018 Transition Night: (Back from left to right): Niya Ridout, Haley Racioppo, Ryan Racioppo, Ariyana Thomas, Alexis Cain, Aubreyanna Biteler, Marissa Hooks, Joshua Peters, Dimitri Niaros, Jacob Dunlap, (Front) Eric Smith; Taylor Welling, Jenna Kunkel, Logan Erickson



Two Ambridge residents are spreading the holiday cheer this season by paying it forward to students in the Ambridge Area School District.



On Wednesday morning, two residents stopped by the District Food Services offices to pay off lunch balances for all elementary schools and the junior high school. While both men originally requested anonymity, Yurkovac agreed to speak about his donation in the hopes that others in the community would be inspired to step forward and consider doing the same to help those closest to home. The other donor has released information on his social media accounts, but did not authorize the District to release his name at this time.



Yurkovac said he had the idea to pay off lunch balances after he read a story about someone paying off overdue library fines for a student at one of the local libraries. His wife, Tina, agreed it was a great idea, so he contacted the District to make the offer. “Both my wife and I were on the free and reduced lunch program at one time during our time at Ambridge, so we know what that’s like,” he said. “It got me to thinking that at this time of year, everyone is focused on helping as many people as possible, so they think about the big charities in an effort to help as many as they can. But when we do that, sometimes our own neighborhood can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. We wanted to make our donation a little closer to home.”



At the Junior High, 90 students were helped, for a total of $500 in negative lunch balances, according to District Food Services Director Janet Gaffney. At the elementary schools, a total of 215 students were helped for a total of $796 in negative lunch balances. While the negative lunch balances have been paid off at the elementary and junior high schools, Gaffney noted that the Senior High School still carries a negative lunch balance of $1,320.38.


Gaffney said this is the first time in her 25 years as the food services director for the District that anyone has come forward to pay off lunch balances. “I am so moved and grateful to have been a part of this experience of having two of our parents come forward in this giving act of generosity; to see firsthand the spirit of giving is still alive and well in the AASD,” she said.