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Students put their art and soul into memorializing teacher

December 01, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The spirit of Robert Edward Herr II lived on Tuesday night in the hearts of 13 young people who gave it their best in a talent show named in honor of the late teacher at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown.

Herr, a social studies teacher at the Potomac Street school, died Nov. 7 when the 2008 Suzuki Boulevard motorcycle he was operating west on Alternate U.S. 40 struck a curb at Ivy Hill Drive in Middletown, Md.

Before the crash, Herr, 53, had been working with students on a talent show at the school, teachers and students said Tuesday night.

When the accident occurred, students at the school came together to decide what they could do in honor of Herr, said Ryan Smetzer, president of the school’s student government association.

They decided to form a scholarship program in honor of Herr, Smetzer said.

And what better way to kick off the scholarship than with The Robert Herr Memorial Talent Show, Smetzer said.

Twenty acts performed last week at the school for the first part of the talent show, then the group was pared down to 10 for the finals.

Those 10 acts performed in the Black Box Theatre at the school Tuesday night in a high-energy show that offered entertainment ranging from tap dancing to piano solos.

The winner of the competition was Ashley Warfield, a junior at the arts school who sang the song “Memory” from Cats. The second-place winner was Zoe Sheehan Moore, while third place went to Tyler Garner.

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Money for the scholarship fund was raised through ticket sales for last week’s preliminary show and Tuesday night’s performance, Smetzer said.

Tickets for both shows were $10 for adults and $7 for students. Smetzer said $1,200 was raised from the first show but he did not have a final number for Tuesday’s show.

The money will be used to award a $500 scholarship to a student later this year, Smetzer said.

The scholarship will probably be awarded to a Barbara Ingram school student, said Ruth Ridenour, lead theater teacher at the school. Guidelines for the scholarship are still being worked out, Ridenour said.

As the show unfolded Tuesday, students and teachers had fond memories of Herr.

Not only was the Middletown resident good at teaching his subject matter but he taught students how to be successful and how to “live your life to the fullest,” Smetzer said.

“He was a unique individual, and the kids really loved him,” Barbara Ingram teacher Matt Drabczyk said.

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