|Taconic Names Softball Field After Late Teacher and Coach Kevin Harrington|
|By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff |
04:38AM / Tuesday, May 31, 2022
|The School Committee approved the naming of the Kevin P. Harrington Memorial Softball Field at Taconic High in honor of the late coach. |
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Taconic High School's softball field has been dedicated to a former teacher and alumni that died suddenly in 2019.
On Wednesday, the School Committee approved the naming of the Kevin P. Harrington Memorial Softball Field. Harrington graduated from Taconic in 2000 and went on the teach at the high school for 13 years.
With years of significant involvement in the girl's softball team as assistant and head coach, he was said to be a respected educator who truly loved his job in the classroom and on the field.
"I'm 100 percent in support of naming the Taconic softball field after late Taconic teacher Mr. Harrington," student representative William Garrity said.
"As a former student of his, he was an amazing teacher, life coach, counselor, and guide to go to even if you were not his student, I still have fond memories of him and I still miss him."
Garrity shared a conversation that he and Harrington had about four years ago. While looking at the old Taconic being demolished, Harrington told Garrity about how his grandfather helped build the old school, and then both he and his father went on to be students.
"He and his family are important to this old building and I believe it would be a great honor for the softball field to be named after him," Garrity added.
Harrington had a medical incident and collapsed in a classroom on Nov. 13, 2019. He was 38 years old.
The school first received an official request for the name change in April. It had initially been sent to the city's Parks Department but it was asked that the request goes through the School Department.
Principal Matthew Bishop said he believes the school's job in the renaming process was fulfilled through polling the Student Council, students, faculty, and parents and finding overwhelming support.
Timing is key to ensure that the students Harrington would have coached can see the dedicated field.
"Kevin was an amazing educator, he was a dedicated coach, and it was really important to kind of try to do this now as this would be the last group he would have coached who are on the field right now," Bishop said. "So next year, students wouldn't have had him."
Several steps were taken before the request could be approved including sending it to the Taconic Student Council for support and a poll to the school community. An email survey was sent out and the weekly newsletter in early May and the results showed that out of the 460 voters, 456 voted in support of the renaming.
"In the past, we've had a number of potential requests from people who served our community well and we tried to honor them in some way and sometimes we have and it's always hard to decide who to and who not to," Vice Chair Daniel Elias said.
"In this particular case, sometimes individuals have such an impact and it's hard not, this is certainly the case."
Committee member Alison McGee pointed out the value that this will have for students.
"Often our students are experiencing buildings and, and areas and even, pieces of public art that are named after people that they have no connection to so I think it's very valuable," she said.
"It's unfortunate when you have someone pass in the time when their students are still in the school, but I think to be able to honor them when they're still there to enjoy and experience it is really valuable."