Monroe School Name Change Petition

School Board Presentation–Virginia Simek

Monroe Name Change

I’m Virginia Simek and a 1960 grad of Monroe.  I will focus on 2 points; one being the strong relationship of Monroe with the West 7th Street Community and two the message the Monroe students presented at the May 22nd meeting.

 The name Monroe and Monroe School has been a part of the West 7th Street Community for over 100 years. Monroe School has welcomed children and families from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, has educated those children, and continues to do so. Monroe Alumni are an integral part of many activities and services that help and assist those living in the area; two examples being their work with the Boys and Girls Club, and programs at Palace and St. Clair playgrounds that bring together youth for an evening of recreational fun and food.  West 7th Street businesses also demonstrate their connection with Monroe. When you walk into Mancini’s you know you are in Monroe territory with its Monroe sports team pictures and Green Wave memorabilia. Monroe alum hold a well-attended twice a year luncheon there open to all classes. Food shelf donations are collected which go to benefit the area. Re-naming Monroe school would disrespect not only Monroe alumni but the community as well.

My second point concerns the message of the four Monroe students who spoke at the May 22nd meeting. They spoke of what they want and practice at their school- treating everyone with respect, welcoming everyone, everyone being treated as an equal. These goals for their school resulted from focusing on the negative fact that James Monroe, our 5th president, owned slaves, yet they seemed to do very well turning that negative into a positive.

We need to give our children the tools to evaluate issues and seek out all aspects so the best decision can be made; it is a disservice if do not encourage them to learn “the rest of the story”. This is a process that will stand them in good stead the rest of their lives.

July 17th School Board Meeting

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