Should the new Dr. Albert B. Consentino School come with a change of name?
That was a motion put before the Haverhill City Council this week by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, who suggested the new learning institution, scheduled to open in the fall of 2025, instead be named in honor of long-time Haverhill resident, educator, civic worker and volunteer, Kallister Green-Byrd. Bevilacqua gave his rationale for making the recommendation.
“She is a champion of education, an advocate for those voices may not be heard and she’s an inspiring teacher. She was actively involved in community engagement and many of you have seen this individual at so many events that volunteering could be her middle name,” he explained.
The councilor pointed out this would also be the first time a building would be named in honor of an African-American and a woman.
While no councilors were opposed to the idea of naming a school or other appropriate building in Green-Byrd’s honor, Councilor Michael S. McGonagle expressed concerns about slighting the Consentino family by changing the name of the school.
“What about the Consentino family? Maybe we should have a list of folks that when we have new things to name. There should be a list somewhere that we keep and say ‘Wouldn’t this be a nice gesture?’ I don’t know how you pick one over the other. That’s my struggle with this,” he said.
Other councilors agreed, noting naming opportunities exist where one honoree would not have to be dropped and replaced with another, such as renaming the Silver Hill School.
Ultimately, councilors came up with wording that was agreeable to Bevilacqua and the other councilors by inserting the term “consideration” into the motion.
“We will send a letter to the mayor and to the School Building Committee and the School Committee asking for consideration in naming the building after her. I have no objection to that,” he said.
Councilors endorsed the proposal by an 8-0 vote with Councilor Catherine P. Rogers abstaining.