Harry Seabright Smith ’71

Harry holds his Bachelor of Science from Radford University and is a graduate of the LSU Graduate School of Banking. He is a bank executive in the Winchester area with over 40 years of experience.

Harry currently serves as Chair of the Board of Valley Health System and is a member of the American Hospital Association Committee on Governance. He is a member of the Shenandoah University Board of Trustees, a board he chaired from 2006 until 2008.

He is also the Chair of the Handley 100th Anniversary Steering Committee.

Harry was a member of the Winchester City Council from 1990 to 1998, serving as President of Council from 1996 until 1998. He was the lead negotiator for the City during the City/County talks that led to the historic agreement resulting in Frederick County Offices remaining downtown.

He was a member of the Handley Board of Trustees for 20 years. He served as President of the Board for 10 years.

He was a founding member of The Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley and received the Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019. In addition, he was a founding member of the Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury Foundation Board.

Harry was President of the Judges Athletic Association Board, Chair of the United Way Board, and Board Chair of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He has served on the Winchester Education Foundation Board, the Leary Education Foundation Board (Timber Ridge School for Boys), and the Grafton Integrated Healthcare Network Board.

He has been recognized as the Handley Library Distinguished Friend, 1996;
Radford University Alumnus of the Year, 1997; Lord Fairfax Community College Medallion of Recognition, 2001; John Handley High School Medal of Honor, 2007; Winchester Education Association Distinguished Service Award, 2010; and the United Way Volunteer of the Year, 2007.

Harry is proud of the fact that four generations of his family have graduated from Handley. His great aunt graduated in 1923 and his mother in 1953. Harry graduated in 1971 and his wife, Debbie, in 1974. Their daughters graduated in 1999 and 2001. His oldest granddaughter will start at Handley in the fall of 2024.

Harry’s great grandfather, Harry Seabright, was one of the first students to graduate from Winchester High School at the original John Kerr School in 1887.

With a long family history in the Winchester area, Harry Smith has served the community through his work in finance, public service, health and education.


Gerald F. Smith, Jr. ’79

Gerald “J. J.” Smith met Kaye DeHaven (Class of 1980) on the Handley Junior Historical Society trip to Richmond/Williamsburg/Yorktown in March 1978. They have been making history in Winchester ever since.

J.J. earned his B. S. in Accounting from Wake Forest University in 1983 and joined Price Waterhouse as a staff accountant. In 1985, he returned to Winchester to join his father as the third generation of their family-owned and run business, Valley Proteins, Inc.

J. J. assumed the role of President of the company in 1992. He served as Chairman, President and CEO from 2003 to 2022. In 2022, Valley Proteins, the largest privately owned recycler of animal by-products, sold to the largest investor owned recycler, Darling Rendering.

He is currently Vice-Chair of the Board of First National Corporation, parent of First Bank based in Strasburg, VA. He is a Trustee of the Glass-Glen Burnie Foundation and a member of the Valley Health System Corporation.

J. J. has served as a member of the executive committee of the Shenandoah Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; a Trustee of Shenandoah University; a member of the Winchester Regional Airport Authority; and a board member of the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum.

He has also served on the Wake Forest University School of Business Board of Visitors; the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education; and the board of the Virginia Historical Society.

Flying since high school, he is a licensed commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings and type rated in B300 aircraft.

J. J. and Kaye have three children who are all Handley graduates – Evan (Class of 2011), Emily (Class of 2014) and Elise (Class of 2018).

J.J. recently wrote that a number of teachers at Handley left lasting impressions on him and prepared him well for college. He commented that many of his teachers could have been successful in other fields but chose to dedicate themselves to teaching. He cited Jonathan Wilson in biology, Mary Virginia Carson in chemistry, and Harold Phillips in physics. He considered David Pleacher, his trigonometry teacher, the best mathematics teacher he had before enrolling at Wake Forest.
In 2011, J.J. and Kaye contributed funds to the Winchester Education Foundation to endow the James Porterfield Chair of the Handley English Department. He considered James Porterfield his most inspiring English teacher who had prepared him well for the rigors of college.
J. J. and Kaye have made a number of other contributions to both Handley and the Winchester Education Foundation including funding for the purchase of the planetarium projector in honor of deceased members of the Class of 1979, the lead gift for the new Handley track, funding for the football weight room and, along with his brother Mike (Class of 1985), a gift to the school’s renovation after which the Handley Boulevard entrance hall was named in their honor.

Activity Photos

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Program

In conjunction with the week-long exhibit, a program on Thursday evening, April 11 will feature showing of film of Apple Blossom pageants written and directed by Garland Quarles and performed by Handley and other schoolchildren on the steps of the John Handley High School during early years of the festival.


Claude B. Smalts, Jr ’34

Claude Smalts was born in Winchester in 1916 and started helping his father in the family business on National Avenue when he was 12 years old. Shortly after his graduation from Handley, his father had a heart attack and Claude began managing the company.

After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Claude returned to his business, Smalts Florists.  Over time, he was a member and president of both the Middle Atlantic Florist Association and the District 3-H Florists Transworld Delivery Association (FTD). He received the FTD’s Outstanding Member Award for the State of Virginia.

Claude was elected to the Winchester City Council in 1948. He served as Vice Mayor from 1954 to 1956 and Mayor from 1956 to 1964. During his time on council, the city opened the Percy D. Miller Water Treatment Plant on the Shenandoah River, created the Industrial Development Corporation to expand the city’s industrial base, and helped to relocate Shenandoah Conservatory from Dayton to Winchester.

His time on council was a period of expansion as well as racial desegregation. He quietly worked to encourage other retailers to hire Black sales clerks. His daughter, Bessie Solenberger, said that his stand for equality was typical of his compassion for all city residents.

He was a member, President and Director of the Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce and received the Chamber’s “Outstanding Citizen Award” in 1964.

He was Vice President of the Winchester Jaycees where he was awarded Life Time Honorary Membership and received the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award in 1951. He received their “Boss of the Year” award in 1973.

He was a charter member of the Winchester Exchange Club. He was the Executive Secretary of the S.P.C.A. and served on the boards of the Shenandoah Valley National Bank, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. He was a member of the American Legion, the Izaak Walton League, the Judges Athletic Association, and an honorary life member of the Optimist Club.

Adrian O’Connor described Claude as “a visionary” at the time of his death in December 2007. “He was a small businessman who served both his customers and his community.”


Alson H. Smith, Jr ’47

Al Smith was born near Cedar Grove in northern Frederick County at the beginning of the Depression. His father died when he was 7 and years later he moved in with his uncle to attend Handley High School in Winchester.

Al worked his way through school delivering groceries, pumping gas and pruning apple trees for H. F. Byrd orchards. When he was not working, he ran track for Handley. He won the 440 yard dash and 880 yard dash at the state meet in both his junior and senior year.

After graduation from Handley, he served in the United States Army as a Corporal in the 354th Military Police Company. He was stationed in Newfoundland during the Korean conflict.

Al bought his first Tastee-Freez franchise in 1954. Through his company, Shenandoah Foods, Inc., he eventually owned 100 units in Virginia, West Virginia, and portions of Pennsylvania.

He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1974 and served for 20 years. He was chair of the House Democratic Caucus and was known for his ability to work with individuals from both sides of the aisle and often played the role of peacemaker.

He was also known for his ability to raise money quickly and in large amounts. As chief fundraiser for the 1981 Virginia gubernatorial campaign of Charles S. Robb, he raised more than $2.5 million, most of it from groups that had previously backed Republicans exclusively.

Al was very active in the community. He served as president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival twice and won the Shenandoah Valley Bowl for Tourism twice.

He chaired the Board of Trustees at Shenandoah University and was instrumental in the creation of the Alson H. Smith, Jr. Library. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the university.

He was a member of the Winchester Medical Center Board of Directors, Chair and board member of the Durell Foundation, board member of Virginia Environmental Endowment and a board member of First Bank.

Virginia Tech recognized his work with the creation of the Alson H. Smith, Jr Agricultural Research and Extension Center as did Laurel Ridge Community College with the naming of the Alson H. Smith, Jr. Technology Center.

He was named Outstanding Virginian of the Year in 2000.

The Trail Blazer

April 7, 1924

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Ralph Shockey ’37

Ralph Shockey graduated from John Handley High School with the Class of 1937. A talented musician, he played clarinet with the Handley band and orchestra as well as with “Professor” W. H. McIlwee’s Municipal Band.

Ralph joined his father and brother Jim (Class of 1930) in the family’s general contracting business immediately after high school. Once stating that he had started by digging foundations by hand, he played a major role in the Shockey Companies through various leadership positions for 82 years including as President and Chairman of the Board.

Ralph served with the Army in the European Theater during World War II. After his return from the war in 1946, the family formed Howard Shockey and Sons before creating Crider and Shockey Concrete Ready Mix operations and later the Shockey Precast Group. By 2006, the companies employed more than 500 people.

Ralph Shockey was involved with the creation of some the region’s most recognized structures. The Shockey companies provided design and build services for commercial buildings, industrial buildings, the Winchester Medical Center and schools that included the Virginia Avenue-Charlotte DeHart Elementary School and James Wood High School. Shockey led the renovation of John Handley High School in 1977 and the major renovation of the school that started in 2005. 

The Shockey Precast Group provided the material for the construction of major manufacturing facilities in the region as well as the material for numerous bridges and Winchester’s parking facilities. 

Under Ralph Shockey’s leadership, Howard Shockey and Sons was general contractor for the construction of the Loudoun Street pedestrian mall in 1974. Beginning in the mid-1980’s, Ralph and his son Clay (Class of 1976) developed Winchester’s Meadow Branch subdivision.

Ralph was involved with the community in many ways. He served on the Business Attraction Committee of the Winchester/Frederick County Economic Development Commission and on the Board of Directors of Winchester/Frederick County Industrial Development Corporation. He was President of Mount Hebron Cemetery Board of Managers and a member of the Board of the Salvation Army.  

He was a member of the Board of Trustees serving as Vice President and Chair of the Building Committee of Shenandoah University. He chaired the presidential search committee in 1982. He was the recipient of the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award and the Shenandoah University Award for Distinguished Service.

He received the Honorary AGC Award of the Associated General Contractors of Virginia in 1981 and the 2002 Distinguished Citizen Award from the Shenandoah Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce named Ralph Shockey the 1997 Citizen of the Year. He was described at that time as “a quiet leader in the community who does not seek notoriety but seeks a better community.”


Elizabeth “Betsy” Carper Sibert ’60

Betsy Carper entered the 4th grade at Handley in 1951. She was on the volleyball team, in the Latin club and in the choir. She took piano lessons at school and performed in numerous recitals. Her family moved following her junior year and she graduated from James Wood High School in 1960.

Betsy worked in the medical field her entire life. She was a Certified Surgical Technologist at Winchester Obstetrics and Gynecology and helped deliver countless babies during her career.

Not only did her 3 children graduate from Handley High School, Betsy and her husband had 7 foster children who attended Handley. She also hosted 13 exchange students from all over the world who attended Handley their senior year and graduated from Handley.

Betsy made many significant contributions to Handley while the 23 children in her care attended the school.

She participated in 17 system wide musicals performed at Handley and was a seamstress for the costumes in these musicals. She supported the soccer and tennis programs. She was the secretary of the Judges Athletic Association for 3 years. She and her husband, Gary Sibert, received The Outstanding Handley Band Boosters award in 1999-2000.

Outside of Handley, Betsy participated in the Winchester Medical Center Follies to raise money for the WMC Auxiliary. She chaired the program for 11 years while serving on multiple committees.

She made costumes and assisted with alterations for the Winchester Little Theatre and contributed to the Henry and William Evans Home by donating dolls that she created by hand for the annual auction.

She made hundreds of masks for doctors’ offices, vet’s offices, friends, and family for free during the pandemic. She published a book entitled “My Life Woven Through Time” in 2022.

Currently, Betsy is a member of the Mega Donor Club of the American Red Cross. She has donated over 32½ gallons of blood and continues to give blood every 56 days. She is the top female donor in Winchester.

Betsy is a Deacon and member of the Chancel Choir at First Baptist Church. She is a member of the WMC Auxiliary Board and currently chairs the WMC gift shop committee. She assists the Winchester Medical Center Operating Room Reunions and organizes the Class of 1960 reunions for both Handley and James Wood. She attends Handley football games regularly, assists with Handley Centennial events and is a true Judge through and through.


Mary Jane Shumate Shiflet ’69

Mary Jane was a stenography student at Handley. She started performing secretarial duties in the guidance department during her senior year through the business department’s cooperative education program. She was hired by the school upon graduation and remained in her role as the administrative assistant in the Counseling Office until she retired in June 2020.

Mary Jane’s 51 years of service at Handley makes her one of the longest serving staff members in the history of Winchester Public Schools.

Multiple generations of students and families have known her. She answered phones, helped students with their schedules, filled requests for transcripts, and hand-rolled thousands of diplomas. She provided supervision to study hall and co-op students, trained co-workers, provided a caring ear to students who came to see the counselors, and other duties too numerous to mention.

She received the Citizen Support Award from the Tri-County Virginia OIC for Outstanding Service and Support of the GED Program in 1988. In 2003, she received the “Quiet Hero Award” for her dedication and support to the Winchester Public Schools and in 2015 she was awarded a plaque with an attached gavel during a Black History Month program with “Thanks For Your Dedicated Service from 1969-2015.”

Her daughter Erika (Class of 1995) described Mary Jane as “physically small in stature, but big in heart and faith.” She continued stating that Mary Jane is always supportive of her children and grandchildren attending all sporting events, band competitions, and other activities. She is a member of Winchester Church of God where she actively volunteers in the office. Her faith is strong and she is a great role model.

Mary Jane recently wrote, “Thanks for choosing me as one of the “One Hundred Handley Notables.” It is truly a great honor. I am proud of my dedication and service as the administrative assistant in the Counseling Office, and to the students, teachers, and staff at Handley, and to the Winchester Public Schools for 51 years.” 


William Shendow ’59

Bill Shendow was vice president of his class, an excellent student and a Hall of Fame athlete in football and track. He earned a football scholarship to Wake Forest where he was a co-captain his senior year. He was named to the All ACC Football Team and All ACC Academic Football Team. As the Commander of the ROTC Corps of Cadets, he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Army in 1963.

Bill started graduate school at Georgetown University but was called to active duty in 1964. He performed a two-year tour of duty that included a year as an Intelligence Officer in Vietnam for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. Honorably discharged in December 1966, he completed his work at Georgetown the following year and received a master’s degree in International Relations.

In 1967, Bill returned to Winchester and entered his family’s retail apparel business. He was vice president of Bell Clothes, Inc. from 1967 to 1986 and became president of the Winchester Retail Merchants Association.

He served as a member of the Winchester City Council from 1976 – 1983. He began instructing government courses at Shenandoah University on a part-time basis in 1983.

In March 1986, he was selected to be President of the Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce and the Executive Secretary of the Industrial Development Corporation. He established the Business-Education Council through the Chamber as a forum for business leaders to meet with leading educators in the region.

He was a co-founder of the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters and was instrumental in starting Kids Voting of the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Bill earned his doctorate in public administration from the Center of Public Administration Policy at Virginia Tech in August 1991. He was named the Director of the John O. Marsh Institute for Government and Public Policy at Shenandoah University in 1997.

Through the Marsh Institute and as Chair of the Political Science Department, he established Shenandoah University as a regional educational and public policy resource center for public sector managers and students of government. Bill retired from Shenandoah University on August 15, 2015 and was awarded the designation of Professor Emeritus.

Bill described himself as a promoter of better public administration and services. He believed public service, civility, and participation in the political process were key functions in today’s world and that teaching young people about those attributes was vitally important. Recognizing that civility was a missing element in modern political discourse, he worked with Shenandoah University President James Davis to encourage those in government to focus on good behavior, quality discussion and helpful interactions.

Bill received the Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Citizen award in 2002. Lions Club International recognized him with the Melvin Jones Fellowship for Humanitarian Services in 2017.

During his retirement, he enjoyed travelling with his wife, Kitty (Class of 1957), and rooting for his beloved Handley Judges and Wake Forest Demon Deacons.