In a rare honor for a single school, two Penn Yan Elementary teachers have been recognized by the New York State Retired Teachers Association of the Central Western Zone with the Epke-Meagher Annual Award for a newly retired teachers.

Pat Atkinson was declared the recipient for 2013, and Peg Patterson is the recipient for 2014.The Epke-Meagher Award’s mission is “to recognize a teacher retiring each year, who has shown exemplary service and leadership in their school and community.”

Atkinson taught all 27 years of her career at PYE, and was known as “the Dog Lady” because of her participation in pet therapy programs and the happy presence of her beloved dogs in her classroom. She was a NASA Fellow in 2001, has raised guide dogs, and was a medalist at the Empire State Games Master Swimming competition. In retirement, she continues to be an education leader at the Finger Lakes Museum in Branchport and as a Master Gardener for the Yates County Cooperative Extension.

Peg Patterson managed to learn and teach in every building in the district. A Yates County native who attended Dresden Elementary, she began her 30-year teaching career at the Academy and the Junior High with music. After a hiatus in California, she returned to teach kindergarten in Branchport, then moving to the Gifted and Talented program at PYE. After the dissolution of that program, she taught 4th grade for many years, and eventually returned to teach music in the primary grades. In the community, she led the Penn Yan Community Chorus for 17 years. In 1978 she helped found the Pennsylvania Yankee Theatre Co. of which she continues to serve as general manager.