Goldman Sachs – So long, George Washington High, time to right the wrongs – Marin Independent Journal
All right, kids, everybody up for the school hymn. And a-one and a-two, “All hail to Wash-ing-ton — in tribute, we sing to thee …”
Not so fast all you Eagles out there. George Washington High School, along with 43 other San Francisco schools, is about to have the father of our country’s name slashed from its walls. Out with the old and in with, well, in with something.
Now I have to admit that I went to Washington High School so many years ago that George himself sat next to me in social studies. Seemed like a nice enough guy, but those wooden teeth were a bit off-putting. He’s the only guy I’ve ever known whose dentist was a carpenter.
But I get it. It’s time to right the wrongs, and old George and a whole lot of his counterparts were slave owners.
That said, two issues are of some concern to me. The first is that most of our students are still doing classroom studies at best on Zoom, and at worst, using two tin cans and twine. Maybe right now, we should be focusing on the pandemic and what we need to do to get them back in the classrooms while we form committees to figure out whose name usurps Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and the like on the front door.
And what about that? Where do we find these new school names? We’ve already heard suggestions such as Barack Obama, Jerry Garcia, W.E.B. DuBois and Maya Angelou as names worthy of consideration. (BTW, Angelou is in fact an alum of Washington High School.)
Look a little deeper, though, and we could be hard-pressed to find 40 or so other people who have lived a perfectly exemplary life and would be candidates to have their name attached to a San Francisco school.
After all, how many Mother Teresa middle schools can we have?
I’ve got it! Why don’t we sell corporate naming rights to schools just like we do to arenas and stadiums? We could have the Nike School (the Fighting Swooshes), Goldman Sachs Elementary, Budweiser Middle School and the Fisher-price Preschool. There would no longer be a need for a principal, only a chief executive officer. Teachers would be “team members,” and if you win two sports championships, you could have your own IPO.
And, lest you think it’s only ne’er-do-well presidents who are on the endangered species list of our schools, think of how eye-opening it’s been for this San Francisco kid.
Hoover Middle School is on the list. I always thought it was named after a vacuum cleaner.
And while we’re at it, if they really are going to rename Paul Revere School, let’s at least name it after a jockey. I think Willie Shoemaker School would work.
Noriega Early Education School is also on the list. Frankly, I’ve never been sure why they named it after a Panamanian dictator to begin with.
Personally, I am thrilled that Francis Scott Key School is being renamed. Why did we ever name a school for someone who wrote a song that nobody but Pavarotti could actually sing?
If we’re thinking about renaming Mission High School, are we also thinking about renaming the street?
Roosevelt Middle School is on the list to be renamed, although the committee didn’t know for sure if the school is named for Teddy or FDR. I’m sure the thinking is one of them has got to be guilty of something.
Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School is going away as well. Can Treasure Island be far behind?
So, I guess George and Abe will have to settle for a couple of monuments in the nation’s capitol and a bridge and a tunnel in New York for their legacy, but we’re moving on here in the Bay Area.
I ask one thing on behalf of all of us old alums. When you rename Washington High School, please make it have three syllables. We don’t want to have to rewrite the school hymn.
Barry Tompkins is a longtime sports broadcaster who lives in Marin. Contact him at [email protected]