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Frank Lupashunksi, center, with his wife Anna Lupashunski, receives a plaque of thanks from Larry Corum for service in the U.S. Navy during World War II and teaching at Howard High from its opening day in 1952 until 1984. Former students of "Mr. Lupe" gathered to honor him at Lighthouse Assisted Living in Ellicott City.
Frank Lupashunksi, center, with his wife Anna Lupashunski, receives a plaque of thanks from Larry Corum for service in the U.S. Navy during World War II and teaching at Howard High from its opening day in 1952 until 1984. Former students of "Mr. Lupe" gathered to honor him at Lighthouse Assisted Living in Ellicott City. (HANDOUT)

What a gift alumni of Howard High School had in their beloved former teacher Frank Lupashunski.

“Mr. Lupe,” as the assorted members of classes of the 1950s and 1960s lovingly call him, was the recent recipient of a surprise visit from former students at the Lighthouse Assisted Living in Ellicott City, where he is a resident.

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Lupashunski taught at Howard High from its opening day in 1952 until 1984, when he retired. Familiar locals who were among his students include Art Boone, John Goodman, Alan Bandel, Marilyn Moxley Embrey and many more.

The Howard High alumni from the ’50s and ’60s are an extraordinarily loyal gang. So much so, that the Double T Diner in Ellicott City is a bustle on the first Wednesday of each month, when former Howard High classmates meet for multi-class reunion breakfasts. Mr. Lupe joined each month until 2017.

During a recent breakfast gathering, more than 40 former students met and signed a plaque for Lupashunski’s service in the U.S. Navy during World War II and his long service as an educator.

After the breakfast, the group headed over to the Lighthouse Senior Center to present the plaque to the 93-year-old Mr. Lupe, who was accompanied by his wife Anna. Lupashunski was recognized by the Maryland State Society Daughters of the American Revolution, as well as dozens of his former Howard High students.

Sarah O’Neill, Howard High Class of 1960, and vice regent of the Pleasant Plains of Damascus Chapter of the DAR, presented a certificate to Lupashunski on behalf of the Maryland State Regent for his defense of freedom while serving in the United States Navy during World War II.

Larry Corum, Howard High Class of 1958, presented a certificate, signed by many of Lupashunski’s former students, recognizing his service to his country. What a reunion of gratitude, nostalgia and affection.

What a treat for area children to have heard the sirens of the fire trucks from West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department Station 3, as the firefighters, guided by Santa Claus himself, drove through the neighborhoods in late December. This is the best kind of siren to hear. Some residents were surprised, delighted and amazed. Many thanks to Station 3 members for yet again another special service to our community.

The season is as festive as ever at West Friendship Elementary. Holiday singalongs, fifth-grade Tiger Celebrations and even a pajama Spirit Day.

Don’t miss the Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum Open House and Train Garden, Dec. 14 and 15, noon to 3 p.m. at the museum, just across from the Howard County Fairgrounds at 12985 Frederick Road. Live music, refreshments, museum tours and the whole place decked out in holiday splendor.

Area folks are delighted to see hometown gal R.J. Caulder has opened a branch of the shops of Breezy Willow Farm at the corner of St. John’s Lane and Frederick Road in Ellicott City, just next to Southern States. I have long been a fan of Breezy Willow’s signature handmade soaps.

Need last-minute gifts? Don’t forget the fabulous pottery of Becky Moy Behre at Greenbridge Pottery in Dayton, the wonderful gift shop at the Shrine of St. Anthony on Folly Quarter Road where West Friendship author Ellen Nibali’s delightful children’s books are available as well as the stunning art pictorial books of local artist Shyami Codippily Murphy, the eclectic antique and mid-century modern offerings of Ingrid Melber at Westwood Antiques on Triadelphia Road or the flea market funky gift displays at the Pink Cabbage at the intersection of Route 144 and Triadelphia Road.

Well wishes to all in the community at this glorious time of year. As in most years, I will borrow once again from Charles Dickens. To echo Tiny Tim’s joyful proclamation at the end of “A Christmas Carol,” " God Bless us, Everyone!"

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