CINCINNATI - Elder High School students and faculty showed their support for an admired teacher, volunteer and runner Monday.
Students prayed and signed a huge banner for Mark Klusman, the victim of a hit-and-run driver Saturday morning. Klusman was doing what he does almost every weekend – pitching in with Elder students to clean up their Price Hill neighborhood – when he was struck.
“It wasn't part of his job. He did it because he enjoyed it, because he enjoyed working with the guys,” said Roger Auer, Elder Campus Ministry & Community Service Coordinator.
Auer said he was with Klusman when he was hit while getting a leaf blower out of a truck near Warsaw and Wilder avenues in East Price Hill.
“The boys did see the car hit the truck that we had our tools in, but none of us were close enough to see Mark get hit. So in a sense, that's a good thing,” Auer said.
Klusman’s volunteer work took him to Over-the-Rhine and elsewhere and embodies the Elder sprit of service, Auer said.
In the cafeteria, students signed a get-well banner they had made with the word “Altiora.”
“Altiora is our school motto. It's a Latin word that means 'strive for the higher things,' and that is definitely Mark Klusman,” Elder Principal Kurt Ruffing said.
“He's not one to stand out there and say, ‘I did this. I did that.’ He's behind the scenes doing whatever it takes.”
Klusman is “the epitome of what a service-oriented person is. You wanted him on your team,” said Andy Hutzel, an Elder grad and director of housing services for Over-the Rhine Community Housing.
“You're kind of inspired to not quit or not stop working early because he was going to beat you to the finish line,” said Rick Nohle, chairman of the computer science department.
Klusman graduated from Elder in 1961, returned there as a teacher in 1967 and has taught there for 50 years.
Classes continued in Klusman's computer sciences room Monday without him.
“We prayed for him this morning,” said Ruffing.
Klusman suffered “multiple traumas,” Ruffing said Saturday, and was being treated in the ICU at University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Ruffing said Elder would no longer give updates on Klusman’s condition out of respect for his family’s wishes for privacy.
Klusman, with his long white beard, is well known to West Siders who have seen him running for years on Glenway Avenue and all around Price Hill.
Police said they recovered the car that hit Klusman but haven’t identified the driver.