Remembering Mr. Lancaster
I first met Mr. Lancaster when he came to Huntington Elementary to become principal. He replaced Mr. Bawden long time principal at the school. When I became the PTA president of the school in 1996, I really came to know Mr. L. and his devotion to children and their education.
While working with Mr. L he allowed us to pretty much start whatever programs we thought would be helpful and he supported us in all we did. There are programs which Mr. L. helped us to establish that are ongoing at the school today. When we told him we were going to have a Valentine's Carnival he was very supportive. We hadn't heard of a carnival of this type before but we thought we would give it a try and it has been very successful, mostly due to the support of Mr. L. and later Mr. Tom Baltzer who became principal at the school.
I remember when Mr. L went out for his liver transplant and the love and support that came from the students and staff at the school. They were very concerned for his health and couldn't wait for him to come back to school. After the transplant, Mr. L. decided to step down from Huntington Elementary and take a job at the district office where he continued to guide elementary education. His concern was always the children and what was best for them.
When he took the principal job at Cleveland Elementary I had the privilege of interviewing him and announcing his new position in the paper. He was delighted that he would again be working closely with the children. When I asked him if juggling his time between the district office and the school would be difficult for him, he felt confident that he could fulfill both positions; but he let me know that Cleveland Elementary and his responsibilities there would come first. He said the first thing he was going to do was learn the name of every child in the school and I know he accomplished that. He was available to the children and always interested in their well being and activities. He called me often at the newspaper to invite me over to take pictures of the students when they had accomplished great things and I was happy to go see what they'd been up to. He had fun with the students and enjoyed them.
I will miss his delightful sense of humor and quick wit. He knew how to make people smile and feel good about themselves. He was never worried about himself and the circumstances he came to be in with his health, he was always concerned about others and how they were doing. In doing interviews with him I never heard him ever feel sorry for himself or ever express any negative thoughts. He was probably one of the most positive people that I have ever met.
Our school district has lost a great educator and the world has lost a great man. There are few with his great compassion and strength. He will be missed by numerous children and their parents and all the people he has worked with through the years.