Quirky truths about school; Throwbacks to riveting events

Gabrielle Moxham, Reporter

North Harford High School was originally built in 1950. It is one of the few schools in Harford County to
have an FFA program, and it is the only school in Harford County to have a functioning barn on campus.
In 2008, the high school was renovated and endured many changes. A lot of these aren’t mentioned very
often. One of these things includes that the auditorium used to be where the cafeteria is. Also, the bus ramp and
main office areas used to be switched.
According to business and tech teacher Brian McCormack, the floors in main classroom hallways are special,
and are supposed to last longer than regular tile. It is called terrazzo flooring, which is made of chipped marble,
quartz, and granite. It is then sealed with an epoxy to make the floor shiny and doubles as a protective coating
that is tough and resistant to chemicals.
Another uncommon fact is that the preschool was held in a portable during reconstruction of the school.
Some more throwbacks include that we used to have a gun shooting range in the basement of the school in
the ‘50s to the mid ‘70s. The school had a good bowling and gymnastics team, but the exact dates of their
existence are unsure. We haven’t won a team state championship since 1995.
Finally, and one of the most favorable among the journalism staff, was the airplane story. Back in 1961, a
member of the yearbook staff, Dave Sanborn, got in touch with Pan American World Airways, because he found
that the students of our school were enthralled by the timeliness of the 8:36 AM flight of a 707 jet, flight 213,
from Baltimore to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The jet was flown by Captain Downer Renshaw. Sanborn, the yearbook editor, found that the flight fit the
theme of the yearbook in 1962 being: “As Others See Us.” He was also asking Pan American Airlines if they had
a good photo of the jet that they might have been able to put in the yearbook.
Pan American Airlines happily wrote back admiring the ambition and dedication of students at NHHS. They
sent multiple pictures of the 707 jet airliner along with more gifts that the students and faculty were more than
appreciative of.
On January 9, 1962, Captain Renshaw flew his 707 flight over NHHS, but not only that- Renshaw saluted
the school with his plane, dropping altitude to 1,000 ft and circling the school to then arrive back at his regular
altitude level of 9,000 ft. Some students in the parking lot of the school rearranged their cars to spell out “Hi”
for the pilot and attendants to see. WBAL-TV and The Baltimore Sun covered it in the news. The Aerie staff
wrote back to the Airline saying it was the, “highlight of their year.”
On January 24, 1962, the airline sent the main peoples who had been in contact with our school over for an
assembly, including Captain Renshaw, Donna Barys, and Chris Miller. In this assembly, Renshaw presented a
miniature 707 jet to Sanborn and our school. Unfortunately over the years, it is thought to have been stolen.
That’s not all! According to letters sent to and from PanAm and our school between Ms. Flora Wiley,
yearbook advisor, Thomas Hoctor, public relations manager in New York, and Roger Wolin, public relations manager in Miami, there was an accident involving flight 214 on Sunday, December 8, 1963 in Elkton, MD.
This was PanAm’s first fatal crash due to being struck by lightning flown by George F. Knuth. All 81 passengers
on board died.
To quote Wolin, “We in the airlines Latin American Division Headquarters in Miami well remember the
occasion, almost two years ago, when Southbound Jet Clipper Flight 213 dipped low over Pylesville to salute the
school in a gesture of friendship.”
This was a glimpse of the past of NHHS, there were many other amazing facts that could be found from just
looking through old yearbooks in the library or doing some research. Hopefully students will continue to pursue
making new history for the school.