Lillie Ham Hendry 2001
Freehold’s Hendry honored with 2001 McGackin Award
Staff Writer By Dick Metzgar Freehold’s Hendry honored with 2001 McGackin Award
Lillie Ham Hendry
FREEHOLD — For half a century, Lillie Ham Hendry has been an educator — and much more to the borough.
Although the 1947 Freehold High School graduate retired as a guidance counselor from that school in 1990, she has remained as involved as ever in community activities.
Hendry has been named the recipient of the John G. McGackin Award for this year. The award, which was initiated in 1986 in honor of the Freehold Borough mayor who died in office in April 1985, goes to that person deemed by the selection committee to have contributed most to the renaissance of the borough.
During the 1990s Hendry was one of the leaders of the effort that led to the restoration of the old Court Street School and the implementation of educational and community programs in that building. She is currently president of the board of trustees of the Court Street School Educa-tion Community Center, which oversees the programs in the restored school.
Hendry has also been a member of the borough’s Planning Board for a number of years. She has been a leader in her church, the Bethel AME Church. A year ago church officials honored her for her community activities. Hendry was honored by the Borough Council with a dinner at the American Hotel in recognition of her years of service in the field of education at the time of her retirement in 1990.
Even then she vowed to keep involved with the youth of the community, and she has continued to do so through the Court Street education facility and her church.
Hendry attended the Court Street School through the eighth grade.
“We have to get to the youngsters before the eighth grade,” Hendry was quoted as saying at the time of her retirement. “We have to provide more direction and goal-setting. We must give them stronger family and community support in helping them find constructive alternatives.”
Hendry was an outstanding student as well as an educator. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1951 from Trenton State Teachers College and then earned her master’s degree in education from the same school in 1955.
After starting at the nursery school level, Hendry received her first public school teaching assignment in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, in 1951. She came to Freehold High School as a guidance counselor in 1970 and spent the last 17 years before her retirement as the department’s supervisor.
She said one of the high points of her career came in 1956 as a teacher in Middlesex, England, under the auspices of an international exchange program.
“It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “I have maintained my European contacts over the years, and I have continued to communicate with the European staff members I met there.”
Hendry said serving on the borough’s Planning Board has been the continuation of the learning process for her.
“There is nothing like serving on the board to keep you in touch with what is happening in the borough,” she said. “It gives you a feel of what direction the renaissance of the town is taking, one that the average resident doesn’t have. I try to impart this valuable information to the other boards on which I serve.”
However, it’s easy to see that the old Court Street School and the new education center that it now houses is still uppermost in her heart.
“The black community in Freehold has always been a loving, accepting and progressive community,” Hendry said. “At the center of that community stood the old Court Street School.”
The McGackin Award signifies that she is still very much a part of her hometown’s renaissance.
“Receiving the award is very rewarding, humbling and enjoyable,” Hendry said. “I am still learning, and I will continue to work with the youth of our town.”
Winner shares honor with family, friends, associates
I wish to thank Freehold Borough Councilman Kevin Coyne and the previous winners of the Mayor John G. McGackin Freehold Renaissance Award for the honor given me on June 16.
This year’s presentation of the award recognizes not only an individual, but also the inspiration and the support of many.
The Freehold Borough Renaissance-Revival Initiatives, spearheaded by the mayor and Borough Council, the congregation of the Bethel A.M.E. Church, the Freehold Center Partnership, the News Transcript and the Court Street School Education Community Center Board of Trustees, alumni and volunteers, exemplify the true meaning of community. Together we foster leadership, teamwork, commitment, values and change.
To family, friends and associates, I extend my sincere appreciation for your kindness, generosity and valuable support. The award and recognition are an honor truly shared by all of us.
Lillie Ham Hendry