Raise your voice at Town Meeting for an Ellen Garrison Middle School

March 11, 2024

Both my children attended the Concord school system for every K-12 year, and I heartily endorse the proposal to name the new middle school for Ellen Garrison. She would be the first graduate from the Concord public school system to have a school named in her honor. This school system is where both my children, nearly 200 years later, spent every K-12 year. Anyone who knows her story or has read her letters can only admire her career. 

Naming the school for Ellen Garrison celebrates our history, lifting up a groundbreaking educator who devoted her career to educating newly free Black students born into enslavement. We should honor her no less than we honor Bronson Alcott. It represents the best of our present, as we work to expand our understanding of our town’s history beyond the heroic stories of where “once the embattled (white male) farmers stood” to include the women and people of color whose lives are no less a legacy to us today. 

Finally, naming the school for Ellen Garrison embraces our future: we are a town whose student body is already nearly 30% non-white; our responsibility to this rising diversity is to provide a welcome and inclusive environment where all students see themselves represented, so that they not only survive, but thrive. Naming the school for a distinguished, inspiring Black Concord woman — and then celebrating her story — will be a step toward achieving that goal. 

I encourage everyone to attend Town Meeting on April 29 to learn more about this initiative and to participate in the town’s decision. I encourage you to vote YES on Article 22 and name the new middle school “Ellen Garrison Middle School.” 

Jim Reynolds 

Wheeler Drive, Boxborough