March 31, 2012

Division Avenue High School is getting an historic name change and good bye Blue Dragons; it will be Jackie Robinson High School

By FRANK BARNING


As a teenager more than a half century ago, I thought the name of our high school was stupid, uninspired. Division Avenue High School was so blah. We cheered, "We're from Division, we couldn't be prouder...." We were proud to be from Levittown, but not really excited about the name of the street that the school was on.


Many other Long Island high schools were named for their towns. Well, we already had Levittown Memorial, so that possibility was out. When a third Levittown high school opened, it was named for war hero General Douglas MacArthur. A junior high was named for Dr. Jonas Salk of polio vaccine fame, but that was a few years later.


The year 1947 was pivotal in the history of Levittown and the area from which many of the early residents migrated. The first Levitt and Sons houses were moved into in late 1947. That April, Jackie Robinson had broken the Major League Baseball color barrier when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. That was a huge moment in American history. Early Levittowners were pioneers and so Hall of Famer Robinson.


Levittown quickly became a baseball town with its variety of neatly manicured fields that sparked the development of a first-class Little League program. Every spring there was a parade to commemorate the opening of a new Little League season. And many of us were Brooklyn Dodgers fans because of our roots. Yes, there were Yankees and Giants fans, too, but there was a strong Brooklyn influence. If eventually there became a Levittown accent, it including a large dose of Brooklynese. You known what I'm talkin' about.


Recently, the Levittown school board, realizing how boring the name Division Avenue High School sounds, decided to rename the school. In a few weeks, our alma mater will officially become Jackie Robinson High School. The 1947 tie in was the hook, along with an understanding of history. What an appropriate name. I would have been proud to have had it on my varsity jacket.


The school board also worked on changing the nickname used by the teams. So Blue Dragons is out. Bums was briefly considered, because the Brooklyn Dodgers were affectionately known by that title. Also considered was Trolley Dodgers, an early nickname. But Levittown never had trolleys.


It was decided that a contest was needed to choose the nickname. Some colleges and professional sports teams have gone to the public for help in name changes. Details of the contest will be announced shortly.


What do you think of our school's new name and do you have any thoughts about an appropriate nickname?

7 comments:

Donald Davidson said...

i believe the writer has a serious bias. it is a little known fact that he became an ardent dodger fan when Willie Mays did not choose him for his team at the Center Lane Pool Stick BAll Pro Am Championship in 1954

POLLY DWYER said...

Dear Frank,
That was LOW APRILS fOOLS JOKE BUT IT DID GET ME THINKING WHAT DIVISION AVE. SCHOOL COULD BE RENAMED- FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT WHOSE BRINGING OUTDOORS IN IDEAS INSPIRED ALFRED lEVITT TO DESIGN THE WINDOWALL IN THE RANCH.
POLLY DWYER

Anonymous said...

I think it's ridiculous since the
community has had a small black enrollment.How about naming it the
obvious.Levittown High School.Keep the Blue Dragons also.

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