Sunday, June 21, 2020

From Someone Who Lived It: Woodrow Wilson High School

Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, NJ is being renamed because of what is deemed Wilson's  "racist" legacy. A new name has not yet been chosen. 
Woodrow Wilson Wilson was he 28th President of the United States, serving from 1913 to 1921. He led America to victory during World War I, spearheaded the progressive movement and led the fight for the League of Nations, forerunner to the United Nations. Though a native Virginian, he was the only President from New Jersey have previously served as Governor of New Jersey and President of Princeton University.
I graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and I am pleased to present this commentary from one of my former teachers, Gayle Granatir Michael:
Woodrow Wilson High School was never about Woodrow Wilson. It was always about the personnel, administrators, faculty and students. We were a family. And, at least from my perspective, there was a caring and regard for one another and education. I am sure most graduates carry fond memories of the time they were there.
High school is a very important time in one’s life. It‘s where friendships are made; it’s where learning takes place; it’s where competitions were done. Not only did I teach English Literature, I also was the Debate Coach to outstanding Varsity teams. We were so accomplished that Woodrow Wilson became a household name on the debate circuit. We traveled to various surrounding areas and states. We hosted fundraisers to pay for travel expenses. We were a team, and a winning team to boot. And, all under the Woodrow Wilson High School name.
Apparently, the school’s history is in little regard as there is a rush to erase all that which was the school’s legacy. I am truly disheartened that a renaming is being done without solid community input. It appears that outside influence is being asserted to erase all that was good in an institution that was the pride of Camden. It is heartbreaking. Thank heavens, one may erase a name but not a memory. And, for those associated with Woodrow Wilson High School, I tip my hat to all of you. In my own way, I do hope my time teaching at that school left a lasting mark on all I came in contact with—I loved every minute being with you!

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