The first full week of summer for local students also holds the first full week of retirement for local resident Joe Spurgas. Spurgas served as a teacher and then principal at Harpers Ferry Middle School for the past 33 years.
At the recent eighth grade graduation festivities from Harpers Ferry, I was able to witness what I have seen over and over again as all four of my children traveled the halls of Harpers Ferry the dedication of the man and the respect given by his students and staff.
Tears flowed as students gathered in for group hugs with the principal who knew all of their names, their likes and dislikes. He was a leader for them whether it was in hiking the National Park or showing respect for one's peers. The lessons he taught the students over the 33-year career are valuable ones they have and will take with them into their own lives.
The evidence of the love and respect of the entire staff was seen at the school as salute after salute was made to Joe Spurgas recognizing all he has given in heading up the "land of the Tigers." Staffers' emotions came across as they shared memories of not only working with and for Spurgas, but for many also having him as their teacher at their own days at Harpers Ferry.
Since the announcement of his retirement earlier this year, there have been public recognitions, celebrations and speeches made about the man and his contributions to the school, the education system of the county and to the community as a whole.
We at The Chronicle join in those accolades and wish Joe well in this next phase of his life. We look forward to seeing him out and about in town as he takes on projects and continues to share his expertise, volunteerism and love of community.