Buzz Aldrin Middle School: coming soon!
On Monday, Oct. 19, the Montclair Board of Education voted to rename Mt. Hebron Middle School to Buzz Aldrin Middle School. Born Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. on Jan. 20, 1930, he attended Montclair public schools all throughout his childhood and graduated from Montclair High School in 1947. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon following Neil Armstrong on July 21, 1969.
A campaign to rename the middle school was years in the making, and on Monday the vote finally came through 6 to 0, with 1 abstention. While the auditorium will now take on the former name, the school building as a whole will be renamed after Buzz Aldrin.
“Going forward, any business pertaining to the name change (such as the timeline) will emanate from the MBOE,” said Principal Jill L. Sack. “I was excited to learn that Buzz will be coming by the school on Tuesday, Oct. 27, for a short visit and tour of the building. There will be a more elaborate visit and dedication ceremony planned for a later date.”
During Monday’s meeting where the notion was passed, there were mixed opinions from both sides coming from students and adults. Katrina Isidore, a student, opposed the name change as she explained that the school was named after the Hebrew word “Hebron,” which means “alliance.” That word had a meaning to its students for being a positive representation of what the school is about. Other opposers said that the money that would be needed for new signage should instead go towards funding school programs.
Some students are in favor of renaming the school after the famous astronaut instead of simply placing a bust of Buzz Aldrin in the lobby, as some suggested. “Say you do something huge, like make a scientific discovery or step onto a place thousands and thousands of miles from home, and all you were recognized with was a few pieces of metal. Is that enough recognition?” said student Emma Uva.
The adults in favor of the name change, including those of the Montclair Man on the Moon Committee, said in a statement: “When Col. Aldrin walked on the moon’s surface in 1969 as part of the first successful mission from earth, he became one of the greatest explorers in human history. He also happens to have grown up in Montclair and attended its public schools. Of Mt. Hebron Middle School in particular, he has said publicly, ‘That was the turning point where I focused my dedication to education. That middle school would be most revered in my retrospect of my youth.’”
“It puts a nice focus on science and technology,” said Board of Education President Jessica de Koninck. “For some, this will have a lot of meaning.”
For more information or to contact the Board of Education, visit their website at montclair.k12.nj.us.