Trail, Amphitheater Honor Late Teacher
Since the original path was carved out years ago by Southern Fulton alumni Andy Meyer, the trail, now complete with amphitheater and informational kiosk, has been a long, ongoing project to pay homage to the late Alleene Hoopengardner.
A longtime high school teacher at Southern Fulton, Hoopengardner was represented at the event at Southern Fulton Elementary by her husband, Alton, and their children, spouses and grandchildren. Taking the microphone, Alton stated his wife enjoyed nothing more than going to school to teach science and about the environ- ment in which we live to the kids in her classroom.
“We’re here today to honor her for the job she did,” said Alton. “ ... My wife always dreamed of having a nature trail here that you all would have a chance to go out and walk on and learn with your teachers. There is no greater honor than putting her name on that sign. When you put your name on something, it’s hard to forget.”
The nature trail and amenities were paid in part by a sizeable Pennsylvania Conservation Corps (PCC) grant through the Department of Labor. Excavation of the amphitheater was completed last November, which was followed by placement of stone and railroad ties. Larry Knutson, owner of Penntrails, trained the PCC crew that was headed regionally by Paul Wilt and locally by Dave Powell.
In addition, Giant Food donated park benches constructed of recycled plastic lumber for placement along the trail. The plastic lumber used in the benches is made from recycled grocery bags, some of which were collected at the McConnellsburg store. It takes more than 12,000 bags to make a single bench.
Southern Fulton board President Kenny Wuertenberg noted one of the great things about being at Southern Fulton is there are so many great teachers. “Mrs. Hoopengardner was another great teacher that we had,” Wuertenberg stated. “ ... She took time to pay attention ... . She cared about the students much more than as a teacher. She treated everyone like family.”
Accompanying Wuertenberg during the dedication was fellow board member Pat Bard.
According to Herb Brambley, technology and environmental education teacher, the nature trail has been a tremendous effort for all those involved. “Without everyone working together as a team, we would not have been able to realize this dream ... . I want to see the students use the trail to learn, take care of it and remember this land is your land,” he concluded.
Elementary Principal Kendra Trail served as the master of ceremonies for the event.