Jewel Bittner Griffith, Roaring Creek Valley/Southern Area High School’s Class of 1960, has been named the Southern Columbia Area School District's 2016 Distinguished Alumnus recipient.

After graduating from RCV/Southern Area, Mrs. Griffith received her BS in Music Education in 1964 from Mansfield University. While at Mansfield Griffith was a member of Lambda Mu, Concert Choir, College Orchestra, Renaissance Singers, French Horn Ensemble, Opera Workshop and was a Resident Assistant.  She was included in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and was Homecoming and Spring Weekend Queen.  Mrs. Griffith engaged in graduate work at Mansfield and Bloomsburg University and was accepted into the Saratoga/Potsdam Choral institute for six summers singing with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of such musical greats as Eugene Ormandy, Aaron Copeland, and Robert Shaw.

Griffith spent most of her professional career as a music educator in the Newark Valley Central School District (NVCSD) in New York, where she developed a choral program that included over half of the student body.  Her students successfully and consistently placed in the NYSSMA All State Chorus and in the MENC All Eastern Chorus. She was and continues to be a guest conductor for All County Festivals throughout New York and Pennsylvania and has been the state song leader and soloist for several PEO and Eastern Star state conventions. For ten summers she was the choral director for American Music Abroad Honors Choir European Tour.  She was included in many publications of Who’s Who Among American Teachers, WBNG-TV’s Teacher of the Week, Sam’s Club Teacher of the Year, was nominated for Disney Teacher of the Year, was named Newark Valley Central School’s Most Influential Female Teacher by the Student Council and was honored with the establishment of a scholarship in her name. In 2012, the Newark Valley Board of Education named the new high school auditorium “The Jewel Bittner Griffith Auditorium”. 

In retirement Griffith has been instrumental in helping to raise money for student scholarships through the "Annual Alumni Concert for Scholarships" for NVCSD and by conducting a community chorus which presents an annual 4th of July concert. In 2014, Mrs. Griffith received the Society of Honors Distinguished Educator Award from Mansfield University. She was also selected to serve on the Mansfield University Alumni Board of Directors.

Mrs. Griffith was nominated for this award because of her "decades-long service and dedication to the field of music education" and her "love of learning through continuing mentorship of teachers and inspirational lessons provided her students." Jewel will be recognized at Sunday's commencement exercises and she will also be one of the featured speakers. Her complete biography will posted on the Distinguished Alumnus page of this website after the ceremony. Commencement for the Class of 2016, will be Sunday, June 5, 2016, beginning at 2:00 PM in Haas Auditorium on the campus of Bloomsburg University.


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