FORT LORAMIE – James Bornhorst and Kenneth Sowards will be inducted into the Fort Loramie Schools Wall of Honor during an induction ceremony on Sept. 27.
The event will be held in the Fort Loramie High School Gymnasium at 2 p.m. with a reception immediately following in the cafeteria.
The purpose of the Wall of Honor is to recognize and honor those persons living or deceased, who, through their performance, achievements and contributions, reflect credit on the Fort Loramie Local Schools so that present-day students may find identity with the past and establish goals for the future. The Wall of Honor will reinforce and enhance a positive image inside and outside of the Fort Loramie school district, as it also strives to foster an increased sense of pride among students, faculty, administration, alumni and residents.
James J. Bornhorst was born and raised on a farm west of Fort Loramie. In 1950, while still in high school, Jim started the Fort Loramie Livestock 4-H Club, Jim himself being the club’s advisor. He saw the need to help the youth in the community who were interested in the raising of livestock. That 4-H club is still in existence today with his son Tony, daughter Jeanie, and granddaughter Alanna as current advisors.
Bornhorst served two terms on the Fort Loramie School Board from 1976 to 1983. He served as president of the board in 1979 and in 1982. In 1977 there was one very crowded school building for grades K-12. The gymnasium was too small to host home basketball games, so area gyms were rented.
During Bornhorst’s first term on the school board, a much-needed new high school building was built on the corner of St. Rt. 705 and Greenback Road. This new facility was a center of pride for the entire community, providing for the educational and extra-curricular needs of the school district.
To accomplish the building of the school, funds were stretched to the maximum. “Jim Bornhorst can stretch dollars,” commented superintendent at the time, Gregg Morris. Bornhorst and fellow board members convinced the community that, through volunteerism, the seemingly-impossible process could be accomplished.
Bornhorst’s generosity was displayed in other ways, as well. He drove friends to various appointments and social events, visited shut-ins to play cards, drove his grandson to weekly therapy treatments for twelve years, and served on the initial Fort Loramie School Wall of Honor Committee.
Already as a young boy, Kenneth Sowards had a deep interest in American history and American Indians, so it was no surprise that decided to become a history teacher.
He began his teaching career at Fort Loramie School in 1975. Over the years Sowards taught junior high American history, ninth grade world history, eighth grade Ohio history, eighth grade geography, high school American history, economics, and American government. For a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sowards was a one-man department, teaching every social studies class in the high school social studies curriculum. He also coached cross country from 1975 to 1980. Sowards was a teacher with the Fort Loramie Schools for thirty years, retiring in 2005.
Former students of Mr. Sowards have spoken highly of his teaching style. Adjectives like “enthusiastic,” and “creative” are used to describe his lessons. He was able to make American history come alive, causing his students to want to hear eagerly what might have happened next.
Beginning in 1999, Sowards and several other area teachers collaborated on a project of classes being taught on the internet called “Virtual High School.” He developed a semester-length class on the Vietnam War, which he continued to teach for seven years. In his Virtual High School classes, he had students from all over the world. On one occasion, there was a student from China, who was an exchange student living in Singapore, taking an internet class in economics from Mr. Sowards in order to perfect her English language skills.
The Fort Loramie Schools and the Fort Loramie community have been blessed by Sowards’ contributions as an educator and historian. His knack of making history “come alive” educates and informs all who come to witness his talks.
The Fort Loramie Education Foundation (FLEF) has worked in collaboration with Studio Eleven Promotional Products/Vivid MFG Group on the Wall of Honor display. The Wall of Honor display at the Junior/Senior High School is an everlasting visual reminder of the dedication the inductees have provided to our school district, community, and world.