Keeping the Arts Alive in Cambria County.

Jody Kessler

Dedication to Volunteer Service

Jody Kessler was raised in Southmont and graduated from Westmont Hilltop in 1969. She has been happily married to the love of her life Denny for the past forty-five years. Jody worked in the Propane Gas Industry for twenty-one years. Later in life she transitioned to the banking world, working at both AmeriServ Financial and First Commonwealth Bank. Since August 2016, Jody has been enjoying retirement while residing in her family home in Southmont. Her hobbies include reading, raising African Violets, and of course volunteering at the Community Arts Center.

Our Special Guest Speaker


Recognition Awards Luncheon

Our 2018 Honorees

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

     Celebrating the 19th Anniversary of this memorable event, the Community Arts Center of Cambria County honors two individuals who have contributed to the growth and success of your Community Arts Center. The Richard G. Baker Recognition Awards will be given for Dedication to Volunteer Service to a Community Arts Center Volunteer and for Excellence in Teaching to a Community Arts Center Teacher. The Honorees will each receive a $500 Cash Award and a Waterford Crystal Bowl.

     This generosity comes from Mrs. Wanda Baker, who established the awards in memory of her late husband’s service to our community. Mr. Baker was a highly respected engineer in his field, working for the Pennsylvania Electric Company from 1946 to 1984. He retired as a Vice President. In the community, he served on the Board of Directors of the Incorporators of Grandview Cemetery and as Past President of Lee Hospital Board of Directors.

     Julie is the middle daughter of her family of three girls. She was born in El Centro, CA where her father was stationed during his career in the U. S. Navy.   Julie moved frequently in her childhood crossing the country several times and up and down each coastline.  This was at times a challenge with the constant changing of schools and never having permanent roots anywhere.  In 1970 she moved to Fairfax, VA when her father was stationed at the Pentagon.  She remained in Fairfax, completing high school and graduating in 1976.  While in high school she met her future husband Ed riding the bus everyday.  She left for college in the fall attending The Ohio State University and received a BS in Business Administration specializing in Marketing in 1980.  She and Ed were married the following fall after Ed’s graduation from The University of Virginia.  They began their life together as high school sweethearts and best friends.  They have been blessed with four daughters, Katie, Mary, Natalie and Bridget. 

Tell your friends you are here

so they can join you too!

19th Annual

Community Arts Center of Cambria County
Hours of Operation

Dale Thompson

Excellence in Teaching

Dale Thompson was born in Johnstown and has been a lifelong resident with the exception of a four year tour of duty in the United States Coast Guard. He is a graduate of the Westmont Hilltop School District and also holds a Paralegal degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dale retired from American Mining Insurance Co. as a Senior Vice President. He has been a spare time woodworker for most of his life, giving credit to his father and Westmont industrial arts teachers Mr. Feath and Mr. Sosinsky for his interest in wood. Approximately 5 years ago he became interested in woodcarving and has taught a beginners class at the Community Arts Center for the past three years. Through the help of the Center, a woodcarving club was established and meetings are held the first Thursday of the month at the Community Arts Center. The club takes particular pride in their making and donating “comfort crosses” to the area Cancer centers. He is proud to be a small part of the Community Arts Center and any contribution he may make. 


Teacher & Volunteer

May 5, 2018

Sunnehanna Country Club

Recognition Program, 11am

Lunch, 12:00pm (Noon)

Richard G. Baker

     They moved to Johnstown in 1990 to begin a new life adventure.  Not knowing anyone, Julie immersed herself into her roles of wife and mother.  Her involvement in her girls activities grew as her children grew.  He volunteering began at Our Mother of Sorrows School, serving lunches and evolved into just about anything that needed to be done over the 21 years they had children at the school. If it involved her girls she was involved.  This continued as they moved on to Westmont High School.  A phone home mom to booster president for multiple sports Julie was always willing to help out and take charge when needed.  Outside of school all the girls were very active in many things from AYSO and travel team soccer to AAU Basketball, Jr. Golf, and swim leagues and Julie volunteered to help in all of them. The girls were also involved in Girl Scouts and she became a Troop Leader in 1991 and remained a leader until her youngest completed her Gold Award in 2015.  During that 24 year span she led a troop in every age level.  Julie was also involved beyond the troop level as the Service Unit Director for the West Hills area which she still holds today.  This allows her to work with other leaders in the planning of scout activities on a larger scale.  Julie has been recognized by the Girl Scouts with the “Appreciation Pin” and she and Ed were the recipients of the Girl Scout Community Service Award in 2012. 

     In 2004 Julie was approached to join the Board of Directors of the YMCA.  She has served in multiple roles, as a member, Secretary and is currently the President of the Board.  She is the first woman to hold this position.  During her tenure the Y has undertaken a $5.3 million dollar renovation.  The Y has completed Phase 1 and hopes to begin the plan for Phase 2 soon. 

     In 2015 Julie found herself facing an “empty nest” and wondering what the next phase of her life was going to bring.  That answer came very profoundly as she found herself being called into service at her parish, Our Mother of Sorrows.  She was one of the original participants in the Alpha Course which she then helped coordinate and make available to over 900 participants, making an amazing spiritual impact on the parish.  Julie was asked to undertake a parish initiative of building a community of small group studies within the parish.  Last Fall, Our Mother of Sorrows offered their first parish “Awakening” with over 650 people participating and over 400 participating in small group discussions. This initiative has started the parish on an exciting journey of growth and exploration of an individual’s faith and love for Jesus.  She is also active in other ministries within the parish community.

     Julie has found a new family to embrace but her husband and daughters will always be her pride and joy and thanks God for them every day.