(Pictured: Steely McBeam, Sting, Wild Thing, and Blaze with Principal McConnell.)
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania – America250PA brought its Keystone Classroom Initiative (KCI) to Borland Manor Elementary School in Washington County today in an effort to engage Pennsylvania youth and educate them about the Commonwealth and our shared Pennsylvania story in anticipation of the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026.
“America250PA is so excited to continue the Keystone Classroom Initiative today in Washington County to engage our next generation of Pennsylvanians at an age appropriate level,” America250PA Executive Director, Cassandra Coleman, said. “This program will allow us to visit with over 50,000 Pennsylvania students all across this Commonwealth by July 4, 2026 when this historic anniversary rolls around,” she continued.
Several volunteers and guest readers joined America250PA, including Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome; Judge Brandon Neuman, Washington County Court of Common Pleas; Jeff Kotula, President of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce; and the Pennsylvania State Police to engage the students in Kindergarten through fourth grade classroom readings.
In addition, mascots helped to distribute the America250PA swag bags to the students, including Steely McBeam, mascot of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Sting, mascot of Waynesburg University; Wild Thing, mascot of the Washington Wild Things; and Blaze, mascot of PennWest California. The swag bags contained fun materials from America250PA—a T-shirt, pencil, and an originally designed Pennsylvania coloring book—and other treats from Pennsylvania product sponsors: the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General, The Hershey Company, Crayola, Utz Quality Foods, Inc., and Natural Food Group.
In total today in Washington County, the program reached about 250 Kindergarten–4th grade students.
Borland Manor Elementary School was the seventh of 13 anticipated KCI school visits throughout 2023.
“Borland Manor Elementary School is privileged to be selected as a recipient of a Keystone Classroom Initiative visitation,” said Borland Manor Elementary School Principal, Marella McConnell. “As a native Pennsylvanian and veteran educator, it is important to me that we continue to teach to our students and to honor the great contributions that Pennsylvanians have made in our nation's history and in American innovation. This opportunity of interacting and learning more about our past, will hopefully continue to inspire our young students to develop into proud, contributing members of society.”
The Keystone Classroom Initiative is a storytelling and visitation program for kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms, children's hospitals, and youth camps across the Commonwealth. Along with an age-appropriate historical reenactor, storyteller, local celebrity, and/or mascot, America250PA will be visiting children across Pennsylvania to educate them about their shared Pennsylvania story, as well as distribute an originally-designed America250PA Coloring Book and other Pennsylvania treats in anticipation of the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026. The program was generously sponsored by presenting sponsors, The Hershey Company, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, The Hawk Family Foundation, UPMC & UPMC Health Plan, The Pennsylvania School Boards Association, the University of Pittsburgh, and Allied Services.
To learn more about the Keystone Classroom Initiative and America250PA, please visit www.America250PA.org or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial (America250PA) was established by the legislature and Governor in 2018 to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate the commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the United States, Pennsylvania's integral role in that event, and the impact of its people on the nation's past, present, and future. The Commission is made up of current and past Pennsylvania leaders, celebrating the rich history and diversity of the state.
America250PA hopes to engage all citizens of the Commonwealth, from each of its 67 counties, to participate in creating a statewide celebration and bringing the Commonwealth's history into the conversation. Together, we hope that as Pennsylvanians, we can better understand the origins and multiple perspectives of issues facing our Commonwealth and nation today. The Commission's ability to communicate its vision, engage various audiences, and encourage inclusive and cohesive participation is key to a successful America250PA. The visionary framework – especially our E.P.I.C. theme of Educate, Preserve, Innovate, and Celebrate, contains the essential messaging to bring the Semiquincentennial to life across the Commonwealth.
Click through the photo album below for more photos from this exciting day at Borland Manor Elementary!