New school to be named for founder of Chambersburg

February 14, 2008|By DON AINES

The founding father of Chambersburg, Benjamin Chambers, beat out three other finalists selected by students and will have his name on the Chambersburg Area School District's newest school.

The administration on Wednesday recommended the name be adopted for the school under construction at the site of the former U.L. Gordy Elementary School.

The students came up with about two dozen possible names for the school, which is scheduled to open in January 2009, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Services Catherine Dusman told the board last month. Along with Benjamin Chambers, the other finalists were Franklin Street, West End and Thomas Jefferson, she said.

In the end, Chambers beat out Franklin Street in voting by teachers and students, Dusman said.

Despite the fact that the school is being built nowhere near a large body of salt water, Oceanview ranked fifth among the names students considered. Beacon Light, West Side and ABC Elementary were other choices that failed to make the cut, Gladys Leon, who will be the new school's principal, said last month.


When Dusman told the board in January that a contest was being run for students to come up with a name for the building, several board members objected that they had not been consulted. However, the plan moved ahead on a 5-4 vote.

The board voted 6-3 Wednesday to approve the name change. Board President Thomas Orndorf and board members Renee Sharpe, Lori Leedy, David Sciamanna, Norman Blowers and Ann Boryan voted in favor with Stanley Helman, Fred Rice and Joseph Tosten voting against the motion.

The old U.L. Gordy was demolished to make way for the new school, which will be more than four times as large. Students from Gordy are attending Fayetteville Elementary School until the school is completed.

Once Benjamin Chambers opens its doors, the Gordy students will return. The King Street and Mary B. Sharpe schools in the borough will close and those students will attend Benjamin Chambers.

Gordy, who served as a superintendent for the district during the Great Depression, will continue to be memorialized with a plaque in the building, along with plaques for the Sharpe and King Street schools.

How they voted

The Chambersburg School Board voted 6-3 Wednesday night to name the district's newest school after Benjamin Chambers, the founding father of Chambersburg.

Yes -- Board President Thomas Orndorf, Norman Blowers, Ann Boryan, Lori Leedy, David Sciamanna and Renee Sharpe

No -- Stanley Helman, Fred Rice and Joseph Tosten

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