New Castle News

November 22, 2013

Kennedy name immortalized in New Castle

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Just about anywhere you travel in the United States, you will inevitably see something named in honor of President Kennedy.

Numerous schools, parks, airports, government buildings and other public facilities throughout the country have been named for Kennedy since his death 50 years ago today.

According to the Washington Post, more schools are named for Kennedy than any other president.

Longtime New Castle residents should be familiar with one of them — at the southeast corner of Highland Avenue and Laurel Boulevard in the city.

When the New Castle Area School Board decided to build a new school at the site, it was going to be called Highland Elementary School. It was built as a replacement for the old school that was located on the other side of Highland Avenue.

Ground was broken in the spring of 1962.

But just a couple weeks after the assassination, on Dec. 11, 1963, the school board adopted a resolution to change the name of the school to John F. Kennedy School.

Board member Bernard Rosenthal proposed the resolution and Albert Russo seconded it.

The resolution said:

“Whereas: It is the thought of this board that it is right and proper to establish a living memorial to our late president, John F. Kennedy, who gave all of his efforts to the improvement of the educational and physical benefits of the youth of this country and the world.

“Therefore, be it resolved: That the present Highland Elementary School be renamed the John F. Kennedy School.”

The building was later dedicated on April 1, 1964. The construction cost for the new building was $693,111, according to district records.

On Dec. 24, 1963, city council renamed the central downtown square at the intersection of Washington and Jefferson streets.

Mayor Robert W. Rainey introduced a resolution that was adopted by council renaming it Kennedy Square.

The resolution said, in part, that the city “wishes to establish a memorial for John Fitzgerald Kennedy and for the many high standards for which he stood, and also to instill in our citizens the compassion which he had for his fellow man.”

It concluded by saying “that the part of the city of New Castle formerly unofficially known as the Diamond be hereby designated Kennedy Square, and that suitable markers be placed with the name Kennedy Square thereon; and be it further resolved that an engrossment of this resolution be sent to the president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, and to Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of our late great president.”