Moose put out to pasture
HUGHESVILLE – For the past three years, the East Lycoming Historical Society (ELHS) has facilitated the Robert Webster Award to graduates of the local history Class at Hughesville High School. To spark initial contributions, a sign board to record donations was used. The likeness of a moose was chosen identifying the school’s former mascot.
At the society’s November meeting, the Moose was officially ‘put out to pasture.’ Donations from the community plus a substantial amount from John Montgomery, Webster’s nephew, filled all spots on the donation board.
Offering congratulations to society members and board, portions of a letter from Jasmine Yarish, a member of ELHS was read at the last historical society’s meeting. Currently teaching at the University of California at its Santa Barbara campus (UC), it was in 2012 when Yarish conceived the idea for the award. In February 2013, the proposal was accepted.
Yarish wrote, “Though the initial fundraising goal is completed, the long-term goals of the project are not. The idea was for a permanent program actively aimed at involving young people.”
Explaining how the idea came to be, Yarish wrote, “At the society’s first banquet, I served as keynote speaker presenting research combining local history with my scholarship as a Ph.D. student at UC. After the warm reception, with many in attendance telling me how great it was to see such a young person interested in local history, I began thinking of ways to encourage others like me to do the same. Using my talents and interests as an educator, I developed the award proposal. I did not see it as a fundraiser, per se, but as a means to deepen ELHS’s local commitments.”
Yarish, now 29, told how as a young college student, she has greatly benefited from awards and scholarships. Although out of the area for more than a decade, she shared her collective experiences with the society, including being the museum’s first intern and establishing the annual tea fundraiser.
With family roots in the East Lycoming area, the Warrior Run High School graduate said, “The local history class offered by the East Lycoming School District is a rarity and true treasure. In the fall of 2013, I visited the classes and part of my presentation was to inform students of the new award.”
The final statement by the ELHS life member was, “Naming the award after Robert Webster was to highlight the importance of relationships. Having the committee include a member of his family to evaluate student essays, reminds us all of those who came before.”
Carol Mordan, chair of the award committee, followed the reading with specifics on selecting award winners. Mordan also recalled the day Mr. Webster was approached for permission to use his name. “He said he was not deserving, to which I replied, ‘Mr. Webster, I respectfully beg to disagree with you.’ “
In the short time it took to fill the donation board proves the community agrees with Mordan’s opinion of the caliber of the man who continues to actively teach for more than 60 years.
At the ELHS museum during the upcoming “5 to Drive” campaign, cards will be stamped for donations to the Webster fund, as well as the museum carpet fund, placing WWI soldier’s names on a quilt block, memberships and renewals, and purchasing fresh cut pine boughs while they last.
In addition to gift shop selections, vendors will offer craft items, with a one-day show and sale by Huntersville artist Marcia Lore Smith.
See the Greater Hughesville Business Association brochures for schedules.