The new bust of President Rutherford B. Hayes was commemorated at Hayes High School Thursday afternoon and placed in its new permanent location at the school.
The ceremony opened with a fanfare for Hayes, written by Delaware County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge David Hejmanowski, and the Delaware County Air Force JROTC presented the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.
“We wanted to make sure we did this the right way,” said Hayes High School Principal Ric Stranges, as he began the opening remarks at the ceremony. “This didn’t happen by accident. We had a committee of incredible people who did incredible things, and each one of them had a great deal to do with this.”
Adam Haynes, social studies teacher and a member of the committee, detailed how the committee got students throughout the county involved in the project by starting the “Pennies for the President” drive at schools. The collection drive encouraged students to give small change to help support placing a statue of Hayes in downtown Delaware.
“We raised over $1,000 from Delaware City Schools students alone,” Haynes said, adding at the high school, students were encouraged to sign their name on a scroll which was rolled up and placed inside the statue.
“Hayes visited Delaware many times after his presidency, and he was very community oriented, just like our students and our community members are here,” Haynes said. “There are over 30,000 secondary schools in the country, and there’s only one named Rutherford B. Hayes High School. It’s very fitting that we have this bust that we are dedicating today.”
Haynes added the bust faces out the east doors of the school, which is symbolic of looking to the future, something Hayes did for education in America.
“(When you look east you see) the sun is rising,” Haynes said. “It’s important for us to think about Hayes and his presidency, and what it set forth (in terms of) educational opportunities for students.”
Haynes closed with a quote from Hayes, himself, in a speech from Sept. 2, 1880.
“The people who have never known the benefits of education are those who never will until it is brought to their doors,” Haynes recited.
Stranges said when he first came to Hayes, there wasn’t much in the school honoring its namesake, and he was glad to have rectified that.
“When students enter the rotunda, they’ll see a quote, they’ll see when he was president, they’ll see his name above,” Stranges said. “We have a different feeling about Rutherford B. Hayes than we’ve ever had before.”
Committee Chairman Bill Rietz gave the keynote of the ceremony and outlined Hayes’ education and career before speaking personally about what Hayes and Hayes High School means to him.
“It’s appropriate that the high school be named after her native son,” Rietz said. “I, along with many others in this community, have benefited from a four-year educational experience in this building. It was an honor to have graduated from the public school system that had on its initial roster in 1831 a third grader named Rutherford B. Hayes. It is with great pride and honor to dedicate this bust to our school’s namesake, Rutherford B. Hayes.”