Letter: Concord Middle School’ is uninspiring. Name it for Ellen Garrison 

November 24, 2023

I was dismayed by the recent Concord School Committee’s meeting.  

In my view, we must, as a community, agree on the naming of the Concord Middle School. 


  • Concord taxpayers voted twice to fund the $110 million Concord Middle School.  
  • This is a huge cost for Concord taxpayers. 
  • We must coalesce on the naming of our town’s middle school. 

In my view, a key characteristic of our schools is to inspire our children. This begins with the teachers — and Concord is blessed with great teachers.  

Likewise, the school’s name matters too. My kids never said “’I go to the Concord Middle School.” Rather, they said, “I go to Sanborn.” I will leave out all the silly comparisons between Sanborn and Peabody. But my point is that the NAME of the school mattered to my children. 

PLEASE don’t name our $110 million middle school something boring like “Concord Middle School.” That would inspire NO child.  

Instead, name it the “Ellen Garrison Middle School.” 


Because that will begin the essential learning conversation: 

  • Who was Ellen Garrison?  
  • What positions did she take that were controversial at the time? 
  • Was it unusual for a woman, especially a woman of color, to be so outspoken?  
  • What did her outspoken ideas cost her? 
  • Why is she important to Concord? 

That is the essence of learning — connecting to the REAL PEOPLE who lived in our town. 

And perhaps seeing a new vision for their own future.  

Please do the right thing.  

Ellen Quackenbush 

Prairie Street