The story of Ryan Gloyer Middle School
‘He will never be forgotten’
Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer (SV ’00) died courageously in battle in Kunduz, Afghanistan on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
On a Monday in February 2018, members of the Seneca Valley School Board unanimously agreed to take steps that will ensure the name and legacy of this outstanding student, dedicated teacher and incredibly brave Green Beret will never be forgotten. That evening, during a regular action meeting, the nine members of the board unanimously agreed to rename Seneca Valley Middle School (SVMS) Ryan Gloyer Middle School (RGMS).
The idea of the renaming was the brainchild of several Seneca Valley upperclassmen who were moved and inspired by Ryan’s story. Seniors Ryan Burglund, Jess Pollaci and Jenna Pollaci, along with Nate Koneizcka, a member of the SV Class of ’17, formed The Committee to Honor Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer. After more than a year of conducting research into the service of other Seneca Valley graduates, interviewing countless officials in the military and the community, and meeting with Ryan’s family, the group decided that the most appropriate way to honor Ryan was through the renaming of the building.
“Ryan was committed to always striving for excellence,” Jess Pollaci said. “We believe that naming the building after Ryan is a fitting tribute to a true hero who walked these very halls. Through his example, we want Ryan to raise up every child entering those doors.”
The group worked on an extensive presentation and took that before the board in January 2018. The group received unwavering support with numerous written testimonials from those who knew Ryan at all stages of his life. During the January presentation, they received support from in-person speeches lovingly given by Ryan’s childhood friend Marybeth Kealy, fellow Green Beret and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Isaac Meade, and Richard Gloyer, Ryan’s father.
The final decision to rename the building was a history-making outcome; however, it was not a difficult one to make, according to Board President Jim Nickel.
“I thought of the students crossing the threshold of the building each day, and how taking this step had the potential to allow the building itself to become a teaching instrument,” Mr. Nickel explained. “We have a unique opportunity - a singular opportunity- to present our children with a real-life example of these important life lessons.”
Ryan was a model student and athlete, lettering three years in soccer and track. He danced in three school musicals, sang in the choir and was selected for participation in District Chorus. For his senior project, Ryan taught younger students how to break dance. Throughout his high school days, Ryan developed a charismatic, gregarious, animated and fun-loving personality. One of his classmates testified that he was known for his inclusive nature, seeking ways to draw others in rather than keep them out.
Ryan continued his education at Thiel College, Greenville, where he graduated in 2004 with magna cum laude honors and received degrees in psychology and early education.
Later in 2004, Ryan enlisted in the U.S. Army and began his training, which ultimately led him to the 82nd Airborne in 2005 (Rangers Tab 2006). In 2013, Ryan completed the Special Forces Selection Course and was accepted into the Special Forces Training Program (Army Green Berets). After two previous attempts and 18 months of intensive training and Russian language instruction, Ryan graduated and proudly donned his green beret in September 2014. Upon graduation, Ryan attended the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School to complete Free Fall training. Ryan was then assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group, 2nd Battalion, located at Fort Carson, Colorado. In May 2015, Ryan deployed to the Republic of Chad; in June 2016, he deployed to Afghanistan for the third time and was scheduled to return home at the end of November. Ryan was awarded a Purple Heart and a 2nd Bronze Star for his heroism during the battle (The Battle of Boz Qandahari) that took his life.
Ryan's awards and medals include: the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Bronze Star with "V" (Valor), two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab and Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Medallion.
“He was a role model for countless people who met and knew him,” said friend Shannon Reesh. “I cannot think of any individual more fitting to have the Seneca Valley Middle School renamed after him than Ryan A. Gloyer. He changed the world. He changed it for the better.”
Ryan Gloyer Middle School is a 2006, 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2020 Don Eichhorn “School To Watch” as well as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon school. It is fitting that such a school would be chosen for a variety of reasons, most of all in that it teaches students to always be true to themselves and to follow their dreams, just a few of the life lessons Ryan expected of himself and encouraged others to pursue. The building, home to Seneca Valley seventh and eighth graders, opened in the 2018-19 school year with a new name, new life lessons to teach, and an interactive display that will honor Ryan’s legacy, as well as stories of service and sacrifice paid for by others we must never forget.
“He believed that anyone could achieve their dreams through hard work and the drive to exceed requirements,” said Richard Gloyer, Ryan’s father. “He possessed the discipline, courage and a never-give-up attitude to overcoming obstacles. We all love and miss him so very much, but he will never be forgotten.”
To read more about Ryan’s life through memorials and tributes, please visit the “Ryan Gloyer Binder” in the blue column at left (or in the drop down menu above if using a mobile device). To learn more about the student presentation through news articles and coverage, please be sure to also take the time to see the choices at left (or in the drop down menu above if using a mobile device).
We thank the Gloyer Family for sharing documents and photos for the website and renaming ceremony. We also extend our appreciation (and pride) to the student committee for their hard work and dedication in preserving Ryan’s legacy.