Derry Area School District to honor 4 late teachers in schoolhouse ceremony
Derry Area School District will hold its fourth annual Day of Remembrance ceremony at 7 p.m. April 30 in the Atlantic No. 40 one-room school.
The ceremony, held on the last Wednesday of each April, honors Derry teachers who died during their teaching careers.
“It's humbling,” said Susanna Calvo, who organizes the event. “It's just a beautiful thing to be there.”
This year relatives and friends of four teachers — Emma Austraw, Rebecca Stahl, Edward “Tim” Deglau and Gary Manges — will remember their loved ones at the ceremony.
“It's really nice,” said school board President Dave Krinock, who will speak at the event. “It gives a chance to honor the past employees who have died, some of them tragic deaths, obviously. It's nice for the families to realize the school district appreciates all they did. The families come; it's a nice evening.”
Austraw was 19 when she was killed in 1919 while walking home from the Kiser No. 8 one-room schoolhouse.
She was remembered at the first Day of Remembrance ceremony. Photos, newspaper clippings and her purse and shoes are displayed in the Atlantic No. 40 one-room school in her memory.
A tree is planted each year on the Derry district campus as a memorial to the teachers honored at the ceremony.
“It's someplace on the Derry Area campus, wherever we need one planted,” Calvo said. “It's not a particular memorial garden or anything. The Austraw family has put a plaque at hers, because it's planted right in front of the one-room school; but the others, we know where they are, but we don't have plaques for them.”
Stahl, 37, a sixth-grade math teacher, was missing for five days in February 2012 before state police at Greensburg found her body in Unity. Her husband, David Stahl, was charged with homicide in her death, and he is awaiting trial. She was first included in the Day of Remembrance ceremony that same year.
Deglau and Manges are being included in the ceremony for the first time this year.
Deglau, a husband and father of two young children who worked as a ninth-grade math teacher at Derry Area Junior High, was 32 when he was killed in a 1978 helicopter crash at the St. Joseph Catholic Church Fair in Derry. He was a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War.
Manges, a business teacher at the high school who was married with two sons, died in September 1997.
“It just brings back so many good memories,” Krinock said of the two men, both of whom he knew from having Deglau as a teacher and working with Manges. “I never had Gary as a teacher, but I can see why Gary was a good teacher just by knowing him personally, playing ball with him, working with him. He was a dedicated man in everything he did.”
The Rev. William Donohue of St. Rose Parish, a Catholic church in New Derry, will offer the invocation and dedicate the memorial tree. Students from the district will provide music, led by music teacher and band director Karen Kerin.
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or email@example.com.