May 12, 2021

School Matters 5/12/2021

New Names Recommended for Middle School

Walnut Lane Middle School, Princeton Community Middle School, Princeton Public Middle School, Princeton Middle School, and (its current name) Princeton Unified Middle School (PUMS) are among the names recommended, as the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) administration has proposed to the Board of Education (BOE) that the middle school’s new name be “non-person specific.”

The recommendation delivered at last week’s BOE meeting followed several months of research, discussion, and polls of students and members of the community.

The educational renaming project will continue, according to the recommendation, and the middle school has been charged with highlighting historical figures and local Princetonians as candidates for the naming of hallways and/or building wings. 

In addition, the middle school is called upon to create a permanent historical exhibit in the Learning Commons, with assistance from local historian Shirley Satterfield and the Historical Society of Princeton, to highlight the contributions of Betsey Stockton and other early history of the Witherspoon School and also to place a marker on school grounds noting the former name of the John Witherspoon School and the work done in reexamining the Witherspoon legacy.

Jason Burr, PUMS principal and leading organizer of the renaming project, will present the recommendations at the May 25 BOE meeting, with discussion and public comments following. A vote on the new middle school name is scheduled for the BOE meeting on June 15.

Hun History Teacher Wins James Madison Fellowship

Hun School history teacher Cameron Helvey has been selected as this year’s educator from New Jersey to be awarded a scholarship for a master’s degree in American history and attend a four-week Georgetown University summer program on the United States Constitution.

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship, established in 1986 by the United States Congress, allows one secondary school history teacher from each state each year a chance to thoroughly study the Constitution.

Helvey, who is currently finishing up his master’s degree at Teachers College, Columbia University, teaches U.S. History Honors, American Government, Constitutional Law and American Society, and Academy Civics at Hun. 

“I think it will be really quite fascinating to pick the brains of 49 other educators who are doing exactly what I’m doing but under different circumstances around the country,” said Helvey, who has a different approach to teaching the Constitution in each of his classes. “I’m eager to share what I’m doing as well as learn from others some tips and lessons that I can bring back to my classroom that I may have been missing before.”

PHS Senior Wins Petronio Environmental Award

Princeton High School (PHS) senior Aurora Yuan has won the Elly and Giorgio Petronio Environmental Award presented by the Stony Brook Garden Club for her commitment to and advocacy in speaking out against climate change and its effect on marginalized communities.

Yuan has held leadership positions in the PHS Climate Action Club, NJ Youth for Climate Action, the NJ Student Sustainability Coalition, and the US Youth Climate Strike, and she is an organizer for Fridays For Future USA (led by Greta Thunberg). She has also organized teach-ins and climate rallies, and she has developed social media content, podcasts, and webinars. She has also been involved with Turning Green, a nationwide nonprofit in which she has served as an ambassador, a mentor, and a summer intern.

The Award, established in 2006, includes a $1,000 scholarship and is available each year to a junior or senior attending a high school in the greater Princeton area who demonstrates a passion for and a commitment to our environment.