For more than 40 years, they have rocked Wash High Stadium and the school’s gymnasium – not to mention various other local scholastic athletic venues and others across the state – with a variety of cheers and chants to support and boost the Little Prexies.
Willard Hartley and Frank Scott are legendary in this area for those cheers, that support and love they have showed for Wash High athletics.
Now, Wash High is honoring its most ardent cheerleaders and supporters.
Hartley, affectionately known as “Lock,” and Scott will be the guests of honor March 23 at The Spirit of Wash High Banquet that begins at 6 p.m. at Julian’s Catering & Banquet Facility, 78 West Maiden St. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Washington High School’s main office at 201 Allison Ave.
“I am honored and feel good the school district is recognizing us,” said Hartley, the author of the cheers and chants.
The ceremony is the brainchild of John Campbell, a school board member, and longtime follower of the Little Prexies.
Campbell said it is his desire to make the banquet a yearly event in which someone from the community, a teacher, administrator or coach will be honored for their great spirit for Wash High in education, athletics or other areas.
“With the spirit they have brought to the school, I felt, and others felt, they should be recognized,” Campbell explained. “Those guys are at every event. Lock especially has spread the spirit of Wash High.”
Both men are Wash High graduates and dedicated to helping many area youth through the years. They are members of the Washington-Greene County Sports Hall of Fame for Youth Service, Class of 2005, and they were inducted into the Washington High School Wall of Fame in 2004.
Through their work with the local YMCA, Brownson House and the Vernon Neal Complex, Hartley and Scott forged a reputation as community leaders. They helped young people better themselves through grade school basketball, soccer and volleyball leagues and also helped adults by forming competitive men’s and women’s leagues.
Hartley earned a bachelor of science degree in education from California University and a master’s of education degree from West Virginia University. He is a retired German teacher from Upper St. Clair High School, where he worked for 35 years (1965-2000). He was voted into the Upper St. Clair Athletic Hall of Fame as an administrative/staff inductee in 2002.
His passion for German, athletics and his two beloved schools are unquestioned.
Hartley was a fixture on the opposing sidelines during Upper St. Clair home football games, serving as the linesman on the stick crew. He also was present in USC’s winning locker room celebrations, leading chants and handing out well wishes.
He has been as big a part of Wash High athletics since the early 1970s. In fact, he was called on to lead this past football season’s pep rally in advance of the WPIAL Class AA championship game.
While he is limited to his wheelchair, Hartley still can move the fans, young and old.
“It’s not as spontaneous anymore,” Hartley said. “And that makes a difference. But when we get it going, it is as loud as ever.”
Scott agrees and appreciates what has been accomplished.
“Lock has spread the spirit of Wash High so much through the community, the kids and everyone around,” Scott said. “It’s him, really. I’m just with him.
“I am quite honored by this. A lot of other people could be recognized. I’m very surprised.”