ROYERSFORD PA – There were tears, hugs, and love across the second floor of Spring-Ford Area Senior High School on Wednesday night (Jan. 10, 2018), as a large crowd stood outside the Ram County Television studio for a ceremony that dedicated the space in the name of the late Steve Bonetz, its organizer and director of almost 20 years.
There were plenty of snacks, too, not just to feed attending guests but also in part to recognize the man’s “love of grazing,” a colleague said with a smile.
But for “Bonetz,” as he was simply and consistently referred to by students, fellow teachers, alumni, friends, and family who gathered to remember him, perhaps the most fitting honor was a video in which many of those same people publicly bid him goodbye. Small clusters stood inside the studio, its production room, and the media center across the hall (at top) to watch flat-screen monitors as those on camera talked about what Bonetz meant to them, and why he figured prominently in their lives.
His enthusiasm was contagious, they said. His smile as wide as a door, someone else proclaimed, and when he often laughed – occasionally for no apparent reason – it prompted happy laughter in others as well.
Not long after his death due to natural causes last June (2017), the Spring-Ford Area School District determined it would acknowledge Bonetz’s legacy as an alum, video visionary, and mentor to students and other faculty members, as well as his reputation as “The Voice Of Spring-Ford.” Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting to dedicate the studio seemed the natural thing to do, administrators and school board members agreed.
Things don’t always go according to plan, though, as Bonetz surely would attest. A professional who was accustomed to doing some things “on the fly,” as one dedication speaker noted, he might have chuckled over the irony that a custom sign designating the studio wasn’t finished in time for the ceremony. Carefully placed adhesive lettering above the studio doors (below) served as its temporary substitute, district Superintendent Dr. David Goodin said.
No matter how they are ultimately labeled, the rooms in which Ram County’s programming is created will perpetuate Bonetz’s “eagerness, influence and excitement,” the district stated.