The cafeteria at East Area Adult School is now officially Hammer Hall, in honor of the late Dr. Wray Hammer, who volunteered at the school for more than 20 years.
“He would be very pleased and humbled,” said his wife, Esther. “He enjoyed this school and working with the students. He would never have expected anything like this.”
Dr. Hammer was an internal medicine doctor at Gessler Clinic. During his career, he served on the EAAS advisory committee. When he retired, he took computer classes at the school and began volunteering, tutoring numerous students in math. Dr. Hammer died in 2019.
Esther continues to volunteer and substitute teach at the school.
The Polk County School Board approved naming the cafeteria in honor of Dr. Hammer earlier this year, but the change was delayed because of the pandemic. Last Wednesday, the school was finally able to conduct a small ceremony, unveiling a plaque in honor of Dr. Hammer.
Assistant Principal Danielle DeConcilio led the ceremony. Members of the SAC and staff, as well as school board member Lisa Miller, were in attendance. Miller shared the SAC’s proposal to rename the cafeteria, which read in part:
“He was always willing to help with anything that any staff or student needed, from making copies or filing, to tutoring students weekly. The students appreciated his consistency and looked forward to their time with him. He maintained a positive, cheerful attitude and had such a great sense of humor.”
The plaque installed in honor of Dr. Hammer reads:
In appreciation for the 23 years Dr. Wray and Esther Hammer invested in the lives of our students, encouraging them toward their goals and helping to transform their futures for the better. Dr. Hammer’s love of math was evident, as he was a motivating, enthusiastic mentor to the students he tutored. East Area Adult School’s students and staff are forever enriched because of the lives of the Hammers. It is with deep pride that this building be named in honor of Dr. Hammer.
East Area Adult offers a GED program as well as services for students seeking to learn English. For more information, visit polkedpathways.com/east-area-adult-school.