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Malverne H.S. - A School By Any Other Name?

The proposal to change the name of Malverne Senior High School is met with opposition.

William Shakespeare once wrote, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." In modern English that translates to, "The name of something doesn't matter, only what the thing is."

Not according to a group of alumni, who are against the proposed name change of the school to Elizabeth Carol Cherry Memorial High School.

At the May 12 Board of Education meeting, West Hempstead resident Lynn Singleton with over 200 electronic signatures in support of renaming the school in honor of Cherry, a veteran teacher of the district.

the name on the spot, but then the district's attorney, Florence Frazer, said the board needs to check its own by-laws before approving such a change, and suggested voting on it at another time. (Upon her advice, they rescinded their decision.)

Since that meeting word about the impending name change reached alumni far and wide. An ipetition entitled, "Malverne High School By No Other Name" appeared on Facebook, which had amassed 445 signatures at press time, although several of them are anonymous.

The oldest alum to sign thus far is Doris Riefler Nelson, the salutatorian of the Class of 1947 (no. 118). There are three signatures from 1963 graduates, one from 1964 and one from 1969.

Additionally, Marguerite O'Connor, First Vice President of the board, signed the petition (no. 227).

Another Facebook page called, "Don't Change the Name of Malverne High School," was started by Marc Loftus, a Malverne High School graduate from the Class of 1987.

On the Facebook page he writes, "This page does not question Ms. Cherry's career accomplishments, but feels a change is inappropriate and lessens the contributions of so many former Malverne teachers of years past. Most importantly, Ms. Cherry never actually taught in the high school and therefore, a change to the school's name is heavily opposed."

On Memorial Day, Loftus and an alumna were at the Malverne train station, several yards from the ceremonies, handing out buttons that read, "Malverne High School, Then-Now-Always," as well as fliers to educate the public about the proposed name change. They also had paper petitions for residents and alumni to sign. They hung balloons of blue and orange (Malverne High School's colors) from a pillar.

The group opposing the name change has no official leader but Loftus was willing to speak publicly on its behalf.

"There's so many people that have gone through the high school that have become successful - doctors, athletes, entertainers, politicians - no one, I think, is the 'face' of the high school. I think they're all part of what makes Malverne High School Malverne High School," he said.

Loftus and others from the group plan to present their opposing petition to the board at its next meeting on Tuesday. They intend to make it clear that this isn't a "character attack" against Cherry, but that they're unhappy about a name change of any kind. They will also lobby to amend the Board of Education by-laws to state that no name change will ever happen to the school in perpetuity.

Evidently, this rose of another name is a thorny issue.

nancy stein weinstein June 03, 2011 at 08:50 PM
as a graduate of Malverne High how can you think of changing the name to someone who never taught there. What are you all thinking. The name of malverne High stands well enough to all who went through. It seems the name has worked all these years and for all of us means something of growing up together. The town, the school all work as one, do you want to change the town name too. Maybe a nice statue to ms Cherry but not a whole school. Class of 1959 Nancy Stein Weinstein
Marie Rao Hock June 03, 2011 at 10:00 PM
There is a special appreciation of Malverne High School and to change its name would take away the affection that prevails among its alumni. Many of us do not live in Malverne anymore and to change the name would be taking away its identity. Please find another way to honor Ms. Cherry! Marie Rao Hock
William J. Rhodes June 03, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Of the approximate 10,000 living graduates of Malverne Senior High School, there are sure to be many names that some would propose as a change. (My choice might be Miss Pendleton.) Nominations would include excellent choices with great credentials. Malverne Senior High School represents all of these people. How could anyone feel good about having their choice prevail over other excellent potential choices that have not even been considered? My suggestion is to leave the name as is and establish a wall of fame to honor individuals that many feel deserve such an honor. The Class of 1959 was the first class to graduate from Malverne "Senior" High School. As a member of that class, I would like to see the current name retained as it represents many diverse people who are proud to call their Senior High School Malverne. A rose by any other name would lose its identity and not be the same rose.
Hscohen June 04, 2011 at 02:04 AM
I appreciate the effort to honor Elizabeth Cherry, but I think it would be more appropriate to find another venue than to change the name of our beloved high school. I along with the other members of the class of 1959, the first graduates of Malverne High School, are are exceptionally proud of our name and am totally opposed to the renaming. I am sure Ms. Cherry has contributed a great deal to the education of many students in the lower grades of our district, but there have been others who have also been exceptional teachers. Please do not single out one's contributions and disregard the wonderful contributions of all the others. More importantly do not disregard the wishes of the 10,000 plus other graduates who want our alma mater to remain Malverne High School?
Jeancarol Hart June 04, 2011 at 12:09 PM
Malverne High School should remain Malverne High School. As a graduate (Class of 1947) I never knew Ms Cherry. I am sure she was a fine & deicated teacher but I can think of many other such teachers the school be named after, example: Randal, Pendelton, Ackerman. Please just leave the name Malverne HS. Jeancarol Baldes Hart.
Dave Paone June 07, 2011 at 12:35 AM
Dear Nancy, Thanks for your comment. Please e-mail me when you can. I have questions regarding the Class of 1959. Yours, D.P.
Dave Paone June 07, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Dear William, Thanks for your comment. Please e-mail me when you can. I have questions regarding the Class of 1959. Yours, D.P.
Dave Paone June 07, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Dear Jeancarol, Thanks for your comment. Please e-mail me when you can. I have questions regarding the Class of 1947. Yours, D.P.
Cay Fatima June 07, 2011 at 01:05 AM
As a matter of fact Malverne is not the original name of the village.
Cay Fatima June 07, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Many in the class of 1959 went to Linder Place school and could not have cared about that name change. Howard T. Herber who cared. Now there is this big issue. Why did Downing deserve his name on a school? Herber too. As a matter of fact somebody needs to recommend to change the stree named after of Paul Linder who was the Grand Dragon for the KKK. This fact I read in a history book.
Joe Mahoney June 07, 2011 at 11:34 AM
Oh my gosh! How could you change the name of Malverne High! Living on the West Hempstead/Malverne border line, I attended West Hempstead High School (class of sixty one). How could I explain having friends from Cherry High! Leave the name alone. If you do change it, make it Hank Williams High School.
Ken Meyer June 07, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Has anyone thought of renaming the school where Elizabeth Cherry actually taught to Malverne High School? Seems just as inane to me. Ken Meyer Class of '60

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