A teacher who touched many hearts


Submitted photo

The late Mrs. Cheryl DeCusati stands with her husband Paul

Brooke Kerr, Staff Reporter

Each year, the Student Council looks at people who have had a big impact on the community and make a group decision on who should receive the Grand Marshall dedication during the  Bellefonte Homecoming game.

This year, Mrs. Cheryl DeCusati, who sadly passed away on January 3, 2019, was selected as this year’s Grand Marshall. At the beginning of the Homecoming game on October 8, English teacher and Student Council Advisor Miss Jennifer Richardson spoke about the good that Mrs. DeCusati did for students and the community. Her husband, Dr. Paul DeCusati, was then presented with a plaque to represent the dedication. 

Mrs. DeCusati was such an influence to the kids she taught at Marion-Walker Elementary, Bald Eagle Area, and Alliance Christian School. She also was a big influence on the Bellefonte community as a whole. Her constant involvement and impact will be carried on for a long time through her students and family.

She was a teacher for 35 years after graduating from Penn State with a Master of Science degree in education. Although she taught throughout Centre County, she spent most of her time teaching in the  Bellefonte Area School District. She would even go to her students sporting events, recitals, and a lot of other things her students did. In the classroom she was very compassionate and positive. Mrs. DeCusati and her husband even welcomed students and families into their home for events like tea parties.

Mrs. DeCusati was a big part of the community and was involved with many things over the 32 years she and her husband lived in Bellefonte. She was a part of Victorian Christmas, Historical Bellefonte, and Cultural Association. She also helped with the Milesburg Car Show. She was also active in volunteering, and spent a lot of time volunteering at Centre Crest.  She was also a member at Park Forest Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School. 

Overwhelmed with gratitude for the Bellefonte Area School District community, Dr. DeCusati would like to share this letter with everyone:


October 7, 2021

To the Students, Educators, Staff, Parents, and Community of Bellefonte:

A big warm and hearty thank you is what Cheryl Porter Decusati would say to each of you for this honour bestowed on her at Homecoming 2021. Being here reminds me of fun memories associate with a new school year. Cheryl was a Kindergarten teacher at Marion Walker Elementary, and one of the first units she did with children was to bake Gingerbread Man Cookies. They learned how to make Gingerbread Mean, and it seemed that always one of those cookies, usually the most mischievous one, seemed to sneak off and hide in the cafeteria, auditorium, library, and principle’s office, thus causing new kindergarteners to search out those important to know places to find him. What a fun and delicious time it was when they found him, ate all the cookies, and realized that their new school was not quite so large and scary as they initially thought.

Then there were the Teddy Bear Tea Parties, usually in the classroom with parents and grandparents, but sometimes also at our Victorian Brownstone home on Curtin Street. You know, it always amazed me how a simple small cup of tea with friends could teach a rambunctious 5-year-old boy or girl to dress up in white shirt and tie or dress, and then sit patiently in their chair showing respect and good manners to each for a full hour. A small miracle, I think.

But that was what Cheryl was all about, teaching young ones new skills, good behaviors, and most of all love for one another as well as love for themselves.

Cheryl and I never had children. Instead, the students she taught were our children, and she showered love on each one of them as best she could. Were she here today, Cheryl would smile, and be immensely proud of the fine, intelligent, strong, and caring young people we see before you today.



Paul DeCusati