Real-Life Legend


Reverend Joseph Murgaš, Radio’s Forgotten Genius, Education Project


The Slovak Heritage Society of NEPA has had a long and wonderful working relationship with Tom J. McHugh. Tom wrote and produced our Murgaš video, and five of our recordings throughout the years. He approached us with the following proposition.  

The Slovak Heritage Society has always placed great effort in fostering an understanding, and pride in their rich history, culture and people. This is evident in the many projects in which the society becomes involved that advance an awareness of the Slovak heritage and culture among all people by means of education and social interaction. Music, language, food, religious practices, customs and traditions brought from the other country are alive and well in our region.

In working with the society on various projects over the years, it is our recommendation that you move into an aggressive posture to develop an educational initiative that would cultivate appreciation for the culture by a new generation.

He suggested that the new version of the Murgaš video be utilized as a tool in promoting Slovak Heritage and Culture to a new generation. “Planting the seeds of the past in the minds of the future ensures its preservation for all time.” A curriculum guide was developed that would allow the classroom teachers to have their students view the video and then participate in various activities that relate to the video and promote the Slovak culture. To ensure that this initiative has value in the area schools, the outcome is in line with national and state academic standards now required by the Department of Education.

Area teachers were contacted to add the educational content and develop the activities that cover the required standards. The curriculum guide provides information about Father Murgaš not only as a priest, but also as an artist, scientist, botanist, lepidopterist and poet. The guide then allows students to participate in activities that relate to all of those fields.

The video, hopefully, will be placed into parochial schools within the 11 counties covered by the Diocese of Scranton, as well as public and private schools in the region.

Matching funding for the project was requested and received from the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, an organization that grants funding for educational projects dealing with the heritage of the region.

The curriculum guide is geared toward 4th through 8th grades (the grade levels that are required to teach PA History). The inclusion of national and state curriculum law, in the educational initiatives, ensures that the programs are based on high-level instruction and content and are appropriate as significant learning experience for vast audiences.

Tom McHugh and edventures consulting inc’s experience in developing and implementing various programs generally concentrates on the teaching of regional heritage and culture. Programs created by edventures consulting inc encourage students to learn chronological thinking, historical comprehension and interpretation, and historical research. 

Thomas J. McHugh, a longtime video/audio producer, has a BS in English Education from the University of Scranton and a MS Instructional Design/Technology from Bloomsburg University. He is Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Mass Media and Communications Technology Dept. at Luzerne County Community College. And is President of edventures consulting inc. His recent projects are with: Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, Lackawanna Trolley Station and Museum, Northeast Educational Intermediate Unit and Northeast Regional Cancer Institute. 

The project has a completion date scheduled for April 2007. The Slovak Heritage Society of NEPA is very grateful to Tom for assisting us in promoting the life and accomplishments of this wonderful man and priest, Father Jozef Murgaš.