September 22, 2014
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LETTERS
Learning from the past

To the Editor:

I am a former Warwick Beacon paperboy from the 1950s when it was delivered free to homeowners. I am a graduate of Nelson W. Aldrich High School, Class of 1954.

A few days after graduation I entered the U.S. Army and remained a member in uniform for 30 years; then switched to an Army Police Uniform for the next 28 years. I have continued my subscription to the Beacon for all those years. I am aware of how important the Beacon is, and through it everybody listens to your voice.

Over the years, I have remained close with Aldrich classmates and every five years was able to return to Rhode Island to celebrate an anniversary with classmates. We continue to have strong Aldrich ties and followed closely the debate earlier this year on which junior high school would be closed and naturally we were pleased that Gorton was selected. Then, within a few months it appears that the earlier plans were scrubbed and more drastic school surgery put on the table. It is to me, unthinkable, to once again repeat the mistakes of the past (the closing of Aldrich, Gorton and Lockwood High Schools) with the impending decision to close Aldrich JHS and convert Warwick Vets to some lesser school. “Happy” Scott, our beloved father and principal, and Dr. Bill Flanagan, principal when I graduated, would turn over in their graves at this news. The saying goes that past is prologue, and those in authority should learn the lessons of the past and consider the impact their decisions have on traffic, safety and the diminishment of traditional neighborhoods.

I urge you to lead the battle cry to Save Warwick Veterans as a High School and you can add this 60-year Army veteran at the top of your list against such a move. 

Next year will be the 60th anniversary of our AHS class and for the occasion I hired a world famous artist in China to make a painting of our beloved school. I have the painting and now facing a dilemma as to what to do with it, because those in power at the last minute added Aldrich to the “hit list.”

Donald E. Devaney

Former resident of 121 Post Road (Pawtuxet)

Son of the American Revolution

Aiea, Hawaii


Comments
4 comments on this item

Everyone has emotional attachments Donald. They should not and cannot be a basis for sound economic decisions. Since you are no longer paying taxes here, your comments are 'nice' but just sound. We taxpayers want relief from a school department that spends fantastically, as if there is no limit to the money.

I agree, Mr. Devaney! Does there need to be a solution, yes. But this is not the way to go!

Hi, Don...it's me, Dan, from "Over 50 If..." I assume from your words you're looking to donate this picture, but really have nowhere to hang it. I have a few suggestions for you - and Aldrich, even if it was not closing, would not be one of them. Don't forget, it hasn't been a high school in many years, and the mindset passing through is not the same, in either age or outlook.

I suggest, in no particular order, City Hall, the library on Sandy Lane, or the school administration building (not the one you remember, that old grammar school on Warwick Avenue...it's now in the former John Greene Elementary School, next to Gorton Junior High).

I can't imagine the city not accepting this most generous offer (something davebarry169 and warwick10 didn't mention as such) and displaying it in a place of honor. What it shows is a big piece of the city's history, and the full name of the school, Nelson W. Aldrich (Junior) High School, tells us there is history leading to the school, a history I have read and found fascinating.

Whatever you decide, I'd make the presentation and dedication (perhaps to "Happy" Scott and Dr. Bill Flanagan) part of your class reunion next year. And speaking of Scott, on the downside, Avedesian will no doubt avail himself of a photo op for something he had nothing to do with making happen, and his press secretary - ooops, I mean Beacon photographer - will be there to make sure the photo op happens.

BTW, "Happy" Scott's son wrote an excellent piece on alternatives to closing Veterans Memorial, Aldrich, or any school in Warwick, something no doubt the "other" Scott will choose to ignore. In fact, I found your letter when I came looking for it to reference in an ongoing thread in "You're From Warwick, And You're Over 50 If..." at https://www.com/facebook/groups/yourefromwarwickandyoureoverfiftyif/permalink/551124418298459//. If you haven't read that letter, check it out. It shows so much about how things are done here, far beyond the school closings.

retired in Hawaii.... NICE ! why ya worrying about Warwick ? We need to close these schools and save money !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know it is hard because of feelings but has to be done

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