Quakertown Community School District News

Emotions Spill Over in Quakertown’s Memorial Day Ceremonies

Quakertown’s Memorial Day ser­vice received a major jolt of pas­sion, cour­tesy of the Quakertown Community School District — its stu­dents, teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tors — who dis­played a love and appre­ci­a­tion for America’s vet­er­ans who went to war to pro­tect our free­doms and nev­er returned home. 

The pride­ful event at Memorial Park, fol­low­ing the majes­tic sounds and march­ing of the bands from the high school and Strayer Middle School, includ­ed an emo­tion­al keynote speech by Dr. Bill Harner, QCSD’s super­in­ten­dent and a 20-year vet­er­an of the U.S. Army.

Harner momen­tar­i­ly broke down when talk­ing about Frank Parker, the high school band direc­tor whose father was killed in Vietnam.

It was very dif­fi­cult to get through that part of the speech,” Harner said. “I have a deep respect for Frank, his com­mit­ment to his stu­dents, our pro­gram, and his loy­al­ty to the Quakertown Community.” 

Harner’s emo­tion was not lost on Parker, who stood with his stu­dents not far from where the super­in­ten­dent spoke. “It’s nice to know that he includ­ed a per­son­al mes­sage to me,” Parker said. “It’s very nice for him to take that moment.”

Each year, Parker speaks with his stu­dents about the impor­tance of Memorial Day. “It’s a con­nec­tion my stu­dents will always have,” he said.

Coincidently, the theme of Harner’s speech, on Memorial Day’s 150th anniver­sary, was that very same his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive Parker pro­vides to his stu­dents. 

Your atten­dance role mod­els for younger gen­er­a­tions this sacred tra­di­tion and cre­ates habits for their behav­ior for years to come,” Harner said. “You reap what you sow!”

Harner, whose speech can be found on pages 2–3, told of his per­son­al strug­gles fol­low­ing the events of 9/11. He spoke of the self­less nature of America’s heroes and their will­ing­ness to die to pro­tect their fam­i­lies and our country.

It was fan­tas­tic to have Dr. Harner here so that we have a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the school who has served our coun­try,” said Dick Helm of Quakertown’s American Legion Post 212, who praised Harner’s “won­der­ful message.”

He can speak to the future of our youth.”

Several stu­dents from the high school played a role in the cer­e­monies. Ana Handel read “Flanders Fields” and Adam Fischer read “The Gettysburg Address.”

Grace Wilson and Micah Kunkle were each award­ed the American Legion’s Certificate of Distinguished Achievement.

The high school band played a salute to the armed forces, in which vet­er­ans stood when their ser­vice branch was called. And after the names of the local ser­vice mem­bers killed in bat­tle were read, fol­lowed by a ring­ing bell, mem­bers of American Legion Post 242 and VFW Post 11322 who died in the last year were giv­en a sim­i­lar sign of respect.

The American Legion Honor Guard per­formed a rifle salute and high school band mem­ber Paul Hand then played Taps.

When the ser­vice con­clud­ed, sev­er­al peo­ple in the crowd thanked Harner for his speech and his service.

It was a very spe­cial day,” Harner said.


Harner, Local Officials, Inform Realtors of Area’s Real Estate Value

Local Quakertown officials and realtors sitting at a meet to discuss real estate values.

Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner and sev­er­al munic­i­pal offi­cials recent­ly held a sum­mit for about 50 Realtors, explain­ing the rea­sons their clients should be mov­ing into homes and start­ing busi­ness­es in the towns con­tained with­in the Quakertown Community School District.

We are very proud of what we are accom­plish­ing here,” said Harner, who host­ed the meet­ing at the high school. “We’ve had great sup­port by the School Board and fam­i­lies in the community.”

The event was put togeth­er by Shelby Miller and Vickie Landis of Keller Williams Realty, which fund­ed the high school’s new bowl­ing teams.

This was a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to get local Realtors in the area to learn all about the great things hap­pen­ing in Quakertown,” Miller said. “The sup­port that the munic­i­pal­i­ties pro­vide not only to the peo­ple in their com­mu­ni­ties but also with each oth­er is unlike oth­er areas. Dr. Harner does a fan­tas­tic job ensur­ing peo­ple are aware of all that is hap­pen­ing in our com­mu­ni­ty and Realtors now know how to assist their clients in buy­ing, sell­ing and invest­ing in homes in Quakertown.”

Besides Harner, speak­ers includ­ed Doug Wilhelm, Quakertown’s direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment; Naomi Naylor, exec­u­tive direc­tor and Main Street Manager for Quakertown Alive!; John Roth, Milford’s assis­tant man­ag­er; John Butler, chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority; and Paul Stepanoff, Richland’s man­ag­er and a for­mer School Board member.

The com­mon themes from speak­ers was the descrip­tion of the area as “up and com­ing … safe” and “afford­able” with lots of his­to­ry, a great parks sys­tem, and “col­lab­o­ra­tion” between the com­mu­ni­ties and district.

Stepanoff, who praised Quakertown and Richland police for their accred­i­ta­tion and keep­ing the com­mu­ni­ties secure, also gave a shout out to dis­trict students.

We have great kids,” he said. “If our kids trav­el any­where, you speak to peo­ple in the hotels, you speak to bus dri­vers, the one com­mon theme is they are the best behaved kids any­one out­side of this area has ever seen.”

Harner, who lat­er gave tours to Realtors who haven’t seen the new­ly ren­o­vat­ed high school,  high­light­ed district’s aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence attained through the hard work of stu­dents and teachers.

QCSD has 28 Advanced Placement cours­es, World Languages in grades 6 to 12, Spanish and cod­ing in kinder­garten to fifth grades, and out­stand­ing STEM programs.

It’s real­ly cool and get­ting robust,” Harner said of the tech­no­log­i­cal achieve­ments. “We could only imag­ine that years ago, and our youngest stu­dents are doing it now.”

A year ago, Quakertown fin­ished first in Bucks County and 12th in the state in the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile 

With a 34 per­cent pover­ty index, Harner said “no one with any­where near 34 per­cent out­per­forms us. The val­ue of what we’re doing here is excellent.”