I wrote this "letter to the editor" that appeared in today's Duluth News Tribune.
Denfeld High School should retain its name:
I see Duluth school officials, incumbent School Board members and candidates for contested board seats are discussing what Duluth’s two remaining high schools should be named after Central closes, the former Ordean Middle School becomes the eastern high school, and a refurbished Denfeld remains the western high school (“Most say residents should name new schools,” Oct. 8).
Recently, while exploring Duluth’s Forest Hill Cemetery, I came across a modest gravestone with the name “Denfeld” carved on its surface. It was the grave of Robert E. Denfeld, the long-ago superintendent of Duluth public schools after whom Denfeld High School was and is named. Superintendent Denfeld guided Duluth schools in the early decades of the 20th century when the city was burgeoning and most of its schools were built. He was a revered educator, so respected his name lives on a century after he served our city.
It’s one thing for a school to be named “Central” because it’s near the center of a city, or “East” or “West,” points on a map, or in honor of presidents like Lincoln and Grant, but quite another when the school honors a distinguished local educator.
Denfeld should remain Denfeld, not Central-Denfeld, which was suggested at a candidate forum but makes no sense, and not “West” or some variation of that, but Denfeld.
For purposes of full disclosure, I should reveal that I am a graduate of Denfeld, so therefore I’m biased.
And why not?