Keep Abington Senior High School's Name the Same
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In light of the Abington School Board's sneaky and unanimous decision to rename Abington Senior High School "Abington Schwarzman High School," I express a few thoughts that may reflect what other Abington residents and Abington High School alumni are feeling.
To the Board:
Let me ask you: is twenty-five million dollars the price you put on the spirit, pride, history, and memories of the thousands and thousands of alumni who have attended Abington Senior High School? Is education, or even a plant for education such as a high school, something that can be branded? How many high schools can you name that are named after somebody who is not yet deceased? A high school or learning institution is named after somebody because of their honor or merits, not money. The act of a blatant bribe being able to sway those who are in charge of the teaching of a new generation is disgraceful.
I know of only one man who deserves this honor. He is a man of firm principles, boundless energy, unending passion, and true dedication. To your dismay, he is not a rich man. He has nothing close to the twenty-five million dollar price tag you have put on our integrity as a community. This man is a janitor. You may scoff. You may even laugh. But one thing I can assure you is that this man has done more for Abington Senior High School and its ever-changing population than any one person on the school board ever has. His name is John “Woody” McGoldrick. You may know him. You may have even signed one of his (too small) paychecks. However, one of the most important things this man, Mr. McGoldrick, has done for Abington High School is care.
For fifty years next July, John McGoldrick has looked after us as students, tended to our school building and campus, and befriended our faculty. He has attended as many Abington High sporting events as he possibly could, whether they be at home or away. He even began to wear the Abington ‘A’ itself at games and would lead the audience in rally cries and cheers. Ask many and they will say that he embodies Abington Senior High School. If anyone should be honored in such a profound way for contributions to our school and the community at large, it should be him-- a simple custodian.
I personally dedicated my high school career to a little endeavor I deemed “The Abington High Archives Committee.” My main goal was to educate the school population about Abington’s past and its many proud and righteous alumni. I tried to collaborate with the school administration. I proposed many ideas and small renovation projects, one of them being to simply open up the old Hall of Fame in the gymnasium lobby-- a Hall of Fame that harkens back to Schwarzman’s day.
One day, the school decided to host a sort of reunion breakfast and tour for members of the Class of 1965. I wondered why at first, considering that current high school administrators are not the ones who usually take responsibility in organizing class reunions. I soon discovered the reason: the illustrious Stephen Schwarzman was slated to make an appearance. We planned. We set up. We waited. He never showed. I immediately thought to myself, “If Abington meant so much to this man… why didn’t he show?” I now know it was because the event wasn’t dubbed “The Stephen Schwarzman 50th Reunion Bash.”
Later that day, as I guided a tour group of Class of ‘65 alumni through the halls and facilities of our high school, we came to the gated and locked entrance to the old Hall of Fame. We had to go around the gym to get to its other entry point. As I showed them the hall, strewn with gigantic rolls of aerobic mats and cleaning equipment which was smashed up against pictures and plaques on the wall, one person asked despondently, “This is our Hall of Fame?” I reluctantly affirmed that it was, and apologized.
To me, Abington High School is the accomplishments of all of those who have graced its halls over the years.
To me, Abington High School is the fond memories I have of reciting the afternoon announcements every day at 1:35 PM sharp.
To me, Abington High School is the Galloping Ghost and our neat little motto: “First in the alphabet, first in academics, and first in athletics.”
To me and many others, Abington is not a single name. It is not a contest to see which graduate can muster up the most money to influence those in charge.
To me, Abington is home, community, a spirit, a part of my life.
Do not brand a name that has meant (and continues to mean) so much to all of us.
Abington Senior High School, Class of 2017
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