Nearly the entire student body and staff of Seneca Grade School’s north campus filed out of the building at
11 a.m. Oct. 1.
This wasn’t for a fire drill or recess – it was to honor a longtime neighbor.
On the first day of the month, students, teachers and staff sang happy 100th birthday to Robert Hollenbeck, who walked on campus from his home next door to thank them.
SGS North Principal Lynn McGhee said that Hollenbeck has been a familiar face in Seneca for decades, as well as an excellent neighbor.
“Bob has always been a part of Seneca and he’s always been a kind neighbor to us,” McGhee said. “He always throws the ball back when kids accidentally hit it over the fence.”
McGhee said the school gave Hollenbeck birthday cards when he turned 96, and were excited to repeat the gesture when he became a centenarian.
“Our teachers put together cards and had all the kids sign them. Bob’s a great person, and he’s an example for all the kids. We’re lucky to have him,” McGhee said.
Hollenbeck’s impact on Seneca school’s can be physically seen within the buildings, especially at the South Campus. He installed all the wooden cases that hold the campus’ trophies.
In 2016, Hollenbeck was granted an honorary diploma from Seneca High School for contributions to the local community. He wasn’t able to join the class of 1938 because of a lack of transportation to the school after eighth grade. Hollenbeck is a self-taught musician, farmer and carpenter.
McGhee said the school is looking forward to celebrating his 101st birthday next year.