DALLAS TWP. — Over 400 people came out to participate in the Hoover Hike at the track near the Dallas Middle School June 22.
The event gave the faculty, staff, students, and families an opportunity to remember Dallas Elementary School music teacher Harold Hoover, who died earlier in the year, as well as fund a scholarship in his name, Dallas Elementary School third-grade teacher Regan Palfey said.
“We have an overall goal to raise $11,000. That will provide a scholarship ($1,000 annually) for all students back to those who will be finishing first-grade this year,” Palfey said. “Before the hike, we had collected about $5,000.”
The Hoover Hike was held for students-only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and opened to the public from 4 to 6 p.m.Friday.
“It was non stop,” Palfey said, noting the number of students qho came out to pay tribute to their former teacher.
“It has been therapy for the kids,” she said.
Pictures of Hoover enjoying family milestones such as his daughter’s graduation, holiday celebrations, and family vacations were hung on the metal chain-link fence around the track.
“I saw some of the students reaching out and touching his face (in the pictures), Palfey said while she held back tears.
Hoover, an elementary school music teacher at the Dallas School District for 35 years, died Feb. 14 from Stage Four Metastatic Melanoma at the Celtic Healthcare Hospice Inpatient Unit of Geisinger South, Wilkes-Barre.
He is survived by his wife, Linda Maro Hoover; daughter, Elizabeth A. Hoover; son, Eric M. Hoover; parents, Harold M. and Myrtle A. Pascoe Hoover; sister, Donna Szczucki; nieces, Amanda Schirillo and her husband Tony; Sarah Szczucki and her finacé Matt; many aunts, uncles and cousins.
The district rallied behind the family and worked with Hoover’s wife, Linda, to create the scholarship and the Hoover Hike.
The result was a musical fundraiser that showcased Hoover’s proteges’ talents via live performances, such as the Dallas High School chorus whoic sang, Andrea Ramsey’s “There Has To Be A Song.” The lyrics reflect one of Hoover’s concepts regarding how music can improve a person’s quality of life.
The chorus members sang,
“There has to be a song, To make our burdens bearable”
“There has to be a song, To make our hopes believable”
“Guests, near the chorus, stopped mingling and listened.
Afterward, GK Production’s DJ picked up the pace with a selection of mainstream music. The Hoover Hike also had a strong emphasis on family fun with face painting, a water gun area, and a booth to put names in a drawing to toss a pie at a teacher and much more.
Other booths offered basket raffles, 50/50, Henna tattoos, food, an ice cream truck and more.
Hoover’s knack for tapping into children’s undiscovered musical talent and breaking down complicated concepts for students as young as first grade to understand has earned him a spot in the hearts of many students.
“He was the first person to set the building blocks in place for me,” Dallas High School sophomore Jacob Thomas said. “I don’t know where I would be if it were not for Mr. Hoover.”
Thomas found a love of the theater after his fourth-grade musical “Cinderella” directed by Hoover. He has since pursued his interest by taking vocal lessons and participating in a several community theater productions.
“Mr. Hoover is 100 percent the reason why I do what I do,” he said.
Dallas Elementary fifth-graders Stephen Phillips, Robert Mesko and Skyler Smith walked and, at times, danced around the track but stopped to share their memories of Hoover.
“I liked the way he taught band,” said Mesko, who plays the saxophone in the elementary school band.
“He was always very enthusiastic,” said Smith, a drummer with the school band.
Phillips, who plays the trombone in the elementary school board, was inspired to learn an instrument because of Hoover.
“I think this is great that they did this for him,” Phillips said.
Dallas Elementary School fourth-grader Cassie Alaimo, while getting her face painted, said Hoover was teaching them to play the recorder this school year.
“He would always tell you ‘good job’ in chorus,” Alaimo said. “It made me feel like I was doing it right.”
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews