The Bulldog Foundation’s 5th annual Hall of Fame Dinner is Saturday, Oct. 19, at Big Spring High School. Six Big Spring alumni – Deb Mixell Kennedy, Wayne “Jake” Cohick, Col. (Ret.) Ken Shannon, Joel Hockensmith, Robert Jumper and Sally McElwain Smith – are inducted into the Bulldog Hall of Fame that evening.
The Bulldog Foundation supports the Big Spring School District (BSSD) with its mission to strengthen and acknowledge the educational, cultural, wellness and athletic programs of the district. The Foundation board and officers encourage and welcome anyone associated with the district to its membership and to attend the annual dinner. Tickets to the Hall of Fame Dinner can be purchased through Friday, Oct. 4, by contacting Jeff Cohick at (717) 574-5245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SallyAnn McElwain Smith
SallyAnn McElwain Smith graduated from Big Spring in 1963 and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education/preschool concentration from Shippensburg State College, with 21 credits in library science. She served as a kindergarten teacher at Haine Elementary School in Mars, Pa., and as a substitute teacher in various school districts near Pittsburgh before becoming a preschool teacher at the Carlisle YWCA for programs including Tiny Tots. She was also a substitute teacher at the former Newville Day Care.
Those library science credits paid off, however, when she became children’s librarian at Shippensburg Public Library for four years and subsequently found her major life’s work, as director of John Graham Library in Newville for 27 years. There, she was perhaps best known publicly for her children’s programs, which often were presented in costume, to the delight of spectators of all ages.
“She has often been called the ‘child whisperer,’ because her mystical, soft-spoken way with both the well-behaved and not-so-well-behaved child is a wonder to behold,” said Sally’s sister, Barbara McElwain DeMango.
Sally retired from the John Graham Public Library in 2011 and now lives in Lock Haven.
Sally’s volunteer service to the community has been extensive: Girl Scout leader, registrar and provider of special programming; help with meals and programming for Big Spring Senior Center; elementary school volunteer – including reading volunteer – with a stint as PTO president; membership and leadership positions in the Newville–Big Spring Alumni Association and Bulldog Foundation; involvement in the Big Spring Junior Women’s Club; and parent volunteer for the Big Spring Aquatics Club and Band Parents. Mary Beth Miller nominated Sally for the Hall of Fame because Sally has “led a life exemplified to family, community, school and to God.”
The entire community has benefited from Sally’s musical and theatrical talent. She had a memorable comic interpretation of the classic Gone With the Wind curtain scene in one of the Newville Community Musical programs. She has also been involved in Newville Community Theater, Shippensburg Alumni Choir, Cantate Carlisle and others, and she has made musical visits on behalf of Hospice. She has always been a participant and leader in her choir and other church musical groups. She was also a faithful Sunday School teacher for more than 35 years.
For the rest of the inductees see: