As we all enjoy these hot and sultry days of summer, among the news making its way around town is the suggestion that the new Winthrop Middle/High School should be named after one person.
For our part, we think this is a bad idea. We too, can think of any number of individuals who have contributed significantly to our school system, and our town in general, who would be superb candidates for the naming of our new high school.
But there is nothing that is more emblematic of a community than its high school. A Saturday football game, for example, no longer would be, “Winthrop High School vs. Revere High School,” but would be “John Jones High vs. Revere High.” How does that sound?
This is not merely about tradition. No one is more in favor of starting new traditions than we are if there is a good reason to do so. But a high school’s name stands for the entire community, not just one individual.
There will be plenty of opportunities to recognize those who have made significant contributions to our schools and town when the new school is completed. There will be a new gymnasium, auditorium, and classrooms and so forth. We can even see naming the middle school after someone.
For example, when the new Chelsea High School was built (and given that it’s now about 20 years old, we guess it isn’t so new), the library was named after Andrew P. Quigley (with an appropriate plaque), who served as a Chelsea School Committeeman for about 40 years and who was the main force in bringing Boston University to run the broken-down Chelsea school system. (Mr. Quigley also served as a Chelsea mayor, state representative, and state senator and was the owner/publisher of the Sun-Transcript for 40 years and The Chelsea Record for 12 years.)
As much as there are individuals who have contributed greatly to the town through the years, the name “Winthrop” High School means Winthrop and there is no mistaking its significance. Winthrop High School sounds pretty good to us.