The appropriate choice
Aug 26, 2012 | 718 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

In reference to the “School Naming” letter by Mr. Valdivia: His letter had accolades for the U.C. school board. for their “wisdom” of naming the new school on 15th St. for Colin Powell. While I appreciate and agree that Mr. Powell might be a good choice were there not a better, and appropriate choice; a person – that actually graduated from one of the schools this board is in charge of. He did not grow up in a place “similar” but grew up in North Bergen and graduated from Union Hill High School in Union City!!

The man is Frederic Reines…winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics! The discovery of the Neutrino, that led to his winning this prize, is something that will affect the world forever more. The recent discovery in Cern of the “God Particle” would not have been possible had it not been for Mr. Reines work. Mr. Reines entered Union Hill High School not interested in science; became very interested in that field and upon graduation, in 1935, he wanted to “become a physicist extraordinaire” – a dream and a goal he certainly attained! If we’re looking to “instill in the minds of students that nothing can prevent them from reaching their goals and dreams” would it not be better to make them aware that someone from here (not similar to here) did exactly that? Someone who actually walked the halls of the same building that they themselves walk!

I do not understand the reticence of the U.C. school board to do something to honor this man and our other “son” Wm. S. Merwin (double Pulitzer winner and U.S. Poet Laureate). The last new school would have been perfect to name the school after Mr. Reines and the media center after Mr. Merwin. We now had a second chance to correct the error by naming this second new school for Mr. Reines. I attempted in 2009 to work with Supt. of Schools, Mr. Sanger, to at least have plaques put by the schools these people attended; at the very last minute I was advised “nothing will be done for financial reasons”!! Does Union City have such a wealth of people of this caliber that these people have become “no counts”? I don’t think any other board with these things to boast about would let that go undone. Why do we “borrow” people from other places when we have our own people to choose from?

I am fifth generation Union City, I love, honor and am passionate about our city’s history. I think it fine to honor people from other places once we have taken care of honoring our own first!

I think the Union City Board of Education and Union City Administration, should use some true wisdom and change the plan from Colin Powell (of Jamaica, Queens) to Frederic Reines (Union Hill graduate)! It’s not too late, the school isn’t even finished. Hopefully anyone who agrees with this will let the board and the mayor know about it.

Kathie Pontus

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