Dr. Gordon Slonaker was honored at the first National Teachers Day in Hampshire County on Thursday, Aug. 28. The event was organized by Norman Sites, with National Teachers Day, Inc., Winchester, Virginia.
Slonaker, who resides in Hampshire County, served as an educator not only in Hampshire county, but at Shepherd College and Potomac State College. His 40-year career spanned from 1939 to 1977.
Slonaker was raised in Hampshire County, the son of two teachers, Arthur and Carrie Slonaker. He could read at a fourth grade level by age 4 and graduated at age 15. Four years later, he became of of Shepherd College's youngest graduates, majoring in education and history.
After completing his master's program at West Virginia University, Slonaker served four years in the U.S. Army, earning a battlefield commission to 2nd lieutenant. He later served in the Reserves as well, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel.
His educational career included service as principal at Romney High School, academic dean at Shepherd College and executive dean at Potomac State College. He retired from that position in 1977.
His son, John Slonaker, commented, "He never retired from learning. He leisurely read a minimum of five newspapers a day."
In addition to his educational duties, Slonaker also served as master of ceremonies for the Shepherd College Athletic Hall of Fame for 10 years.
The official award to be bestowed is the Richard C. Shickle Award, named by Sites' national organization in honor of the chairman of the board of supervisors for Frederick County, Virginia. The award was presented Hampshire County Commissioner Bob Hott at 11 a.m. at Celebration Park beside City Hall in Romney.