JACKSON TWP — Seventh- and eighth-graders at Seneca Valley will be reminded of an alumnus' sacrifice — and his legacy — in perpetuity.
The board voted unanimously to rename the middle school Ryan Gloyer Middle School at Monday night's meeting. The change will be effective in the 2018-19 school year.
Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Gloyer, a Green Beret, was killed in November 2016 while fighting enemy forces in Kunduz, Afghanistan. He was a 2000 Seneca Valley graduate.
“Here is another way for our community to raise up a positive role model,” said the Rev. Reid Moon, a school board member. “Ryan Gloyer walked the same halls, sat in the same seats. There is a certain bond that takes place between people that go to the same school.”
In addition to the name change, school board President Jim Nickel amended the motion to direct the administration to develop a program to educate the students at the middle school about Gloyer's life and create a memorial in the school to honor Gloyer and any other Seneca Valley graduate who makes the ultimate sacrifice.
This is the first time in the district's history that a school has been named after an individual.
Gloyer played several sports while he was a student at Seneca Valley, in addition to participating in chorus and the school musical. He went on to get degrees in elementary education and psychology from Thiel College in Greenville before enlisting in the Army.
Richard Gloyer, Ryan's father, said while the name change was significant, the addition of an educational program to teach students about his son is just as important. That will ensure children know about Ryan's positive impact and pursuit of excellence, he said. Gloyer was devoted to teaching — both the fourth graders he student taught in Greenville and the men in his Army unit, Richard Gloyer said.
“It's pretty awesome,” said Richard Gloyer. “It ensures his legacy continues on.”
A group of students and one recent Seneca Valley graduate gave a presentation at the Jan. 23 school board meeting on why the district should rename the middle school after Gloyer, giving many details about his life and his personality.
Among the reasons that stuck out to board members were Gloyer's persistence in reaching his goal of becoming a Green Beret and his ability to transcend and bridge social groups while in school at Seneca Valley.
Those were traits middle school students could look to during what is sometimes a transitional period in their lives, Moon said.