10 February 2023- Following 44 weeks of intensive training, the 34th Class of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Ross Leffler School of Conservation graduated Feb. 4, 2023 at the Susquehanna Township Middle School in Harrisburg.
Training School Director Kyle Jury praised graduates for their dedication and demonstrated commitment to our resources.
“The 34th Class, which began their training on March 27, 2022, met all the challenges of their in-class instruction and rigorous field training,” Jury said. “The graduation of our new game wardens marks many individual accomplishments that contribute to the overall success of the agency. I’m proud to say that this new class brings the total number of Ross Leffler School of Conservation graduates to 770 individuals.”
During the graduation ceremony, graduates were recognized for achievements in the areas of academics, marksmanship, physical fitness, driving skills and leadership.
Graduate Michael Ondik received the class award for academics, with a score of 95.3%.
Graduate Sheldon Helm was honored with the marksmanship award, achieving the highest overall proficiency in a series of courses firing the handgun, rifle, and shotgun.
Graduate Peyton Edwards was selected as the fitness award winner for maintaining the highest standard of physical fitness during the training program.
Graduate Theodore Frumkin captured the EVOC driving award for exhibiting safe and exceptional police driving skills during the training program.
Graduate Kyle Lubak received the academy torch award for maintaining the highest professional standard of conduct, values, ideals, and demonstrated abilities as judged by his fellow classmates.
Graduates were commissioned as officers and have been assigned to their new districts.
Members of the 34th Class, their hometowns and their new assignments are:
Drew B. Barger, of Beaver Falls (Butler County); James F. Crown III, of Philadelphia (Philadelphia County); Peyton D. Edwards, of State College (Elk County); Gabriel W. Everett, of Effort (Bradford County); Garette T. Fallon, of Phoenixville (Clinton County); Philip C. Ferry, of Greensburg (Westmoreland County); Theodore M. Frumkin, of Indiana (Allegheny County); Griffin R. Gdovin, of Wilkes-Barre (Cameron County); Taylor J. Gunderson, of Lewis Run (Butler County); Brooke A. Hargenrader, of Marysville (Fayette County); Sheldon R. Helm, of Palmyra (Lycoming County); Brian M. Johnston, of Kirkwood (Chester County); Helen A. Karp, of Millheim (McKean County); Kyle B. Lubak, of Kempton (Bucks County); Luke E. Mentzer, of Lebanon (Potter County); Charles K. Onder Jr., of Portage (Bedford County); Michael J. Ondik, of Port Matilda (Venango County); and Ejai P. Rock, of Bedford (Bedford County).
In 1930, Ross Leffler, then president of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, proposed the establishment of a training school for game protectors. When the training school opened its doors in 1932, in Brockway, Jefferson County, it was the first such conservation officer training school in the world and served as a model for other states.
From 1932 until 1935, the Ross Leffler School of Conservation offered in-service training for game protectors. The school became a permanent facility until 1986, when it was moved to the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters.