Place your pointer over each photo below to read the caption.
One of the
town's schools has a new name.
The Alternative High School,
housed in a former parochial school building on Biro Street, was renamed
"Fairfield High Schools Walter Fitzgerald Campus" on a unanimous vote
by the Board of EducationTuesday night.
celebration. It's a celebration of a life. It's a celebration of a
school," said Sue Brand, a Board of Education member. "It's
Margaret Mary Fitzgerald
wife of the late Walter Fitzgerald, a longtime teacher at the school and boys'
basketball coach at the main public high schools, said her husband "really
gave his life for the alternative educational program" in Fairfield and
that his family was "so greatly humbled and honored" that the school
board had renamed the school in his memory.
thank you from the bottom of my heart," she said.
assistant superintendent of Fairfield schools, Margaret Mary Fitzgerald said
that with the new name the alternative high school -- operating in a building
that was once St. Emery's School -- would have an identity, purpose and
mission. She said she believes the school, designed for students who may have
difficulty adjusting to the standard curriculum at the main high schools or who
have personal troubles, had no greater advocate or teacher than her husband,
though she admitted to having "a little bit of bias."
School board member John Convertito said giving the school an identity was
long overdue, and school board Vice Chairwoman Pam
"These are the things that make you happy to be on the board."
the new name didn't come without two brief debates.
The school board first discussed whether the alternative school
should simply be renamed "Walter Fitzgerald High
actually very clean and simple," Gayle Donowitz, the school's principal,
suggested. "We looked at `Walter Fitzgerald High School,' and we would
like you to consider that this evening."
said the proposed name on the agenda -- "Fairfield High Schools Fitzgerald
Campus" -- lacks Fitzgerald's first name and that students thought if the
name were too long, it would be unwieldy.
Superintendent of Schools David Title said, "We don't want to create a
third high school. It's a branch of the two high schools."
Title said if the state Department of Education in any way considered it a third high
school it would pose problems that the school district didn't want. He said
staff at the Biro Street school could shorten the name to "Walter
Fitzgerald Campus" in conversations.
the school board's chairman, said students at the school graduate with a
diploma from either Fairfield Ludlowe High
School or Fairfield Warde High
School, depending on which attendance zone they live in.
started the second brief discussion by asking whether an apostrophe should be
included after "Schools" in the name that was approved.
research it," Title replied.
School board member Jennifer Maxon Kennelly said normally an apostrophe would be
included, but questioned whether schools outside of Fairfield did that.
minutes will clarify where the apostrophe is supposed to be,"
all," Convertito said.
said students in the high school's English class would be happy to help resolve
Walter Fitzgerald, who died in May 2010 at the age of 61, taught
at the Alternative High School for 25 years after starting his teaching career
at Fairfield Woods Middle
School. The Biro Street school that now bears his name has about 40
students this year.
No one from
the public commented on the proposed names, but indicated by applause that they
favored both renaming the school after Fitzgerald. The name was approved moments
later by the school board on a 9-0 vote.