Old friend honors former Hambright principal

Bob Stoner surprised an old friend Wednesday, when he presented him with two unusual gifts in honor of his long ties to the former Hambright Elementary School.

Stoner gave Gerald Sheckart a brick from the original Hambright building, constructed in 1936, along with a framed photo of the school that appeared in Life magazine 80 years ago.

The gift presentation was the idea of Stoner, who wanted to preserve the memory of the Temple Avenue school he attended with Sheckart 70 years ago. The structure was razed last year to make way for an elder care facility. A new Hambright Elementary opened in 2014 on Charlestown Road.

As the old school was coming down, Stoner was arranging to get bricks as mementos for family members when he thought about his old friend, Jerry. The two were Hambright classmates in the mid-1940s and became friends when they attended high school together in Penn Manor.

After college, they both became teachers – Stoner in Octorara and Sheckart at Hambright. In the 1960s, Jerry was named principal at Hambright and served in that position into the late 1980s.

“His name just popped into my head,” Stoner recalled. “I always thought he was a very fair person, and I just thought it would be a nice thing to give him a brick and the photo.”

The faded red brick contains a gold plaque that reads: “Hambright School, Lancaster, PA, 1936-2015. Gerald L. Sheckart, Principal.”

The caption under the photo from Life contains this description: “Colonial in style is this four-room elementary school at Hambright, Pa., which cost $28,533. Colonial red brick with white trim and cupola is the most popular public style in the Eastern U.S.”

Sheckart was tickled to receive the gifts. He also was thrilled to learn another piece of history: Bob Stoner’s father, Benjamin, had built the original Hambright, along with Central Manor Elementary School.

Stoner said the presentation was a way to honor his late father, as well as pay tribute to his friend and former Hambright principal.

Thank you both for the memories!