Let’s add women to our wall


Photo by Kari Iocolano

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SINCE ITS reopening in 1984, Townsend Harris High School has attracted a unique student body, composed of a 70- 30 female to male ratio and cultural backgrounds that can be traced around the globe. Despite this diversity, one place remains homogeneous: the Wall of Fame, which only features graduates from the old, all-male THHS that closed in 1942. While the alumni featured on the Wall have made significant contributions to the global community, the time has come to shine light on more recent THHS graduates and their successes.

On the Townsend Harris Alumni Association’s (THAA) website, a list of alumni in the “Hall of Fame” commemorates a larger group of former Harrisites who have achieved notable success. In 2010, the Alumni Association inducted 25 members to commemorate the school’s 25th anniversary, marking the first time alumni from the new building, including women, were added to the list. As the THAA prepares to induct 2 more members for the school’s 30th anniversary, we believe this to be a great opportunity to have these people receive the same recognition as those prominently displayed on the Wall of Fame.

It may be difficult or expensive to expand the Wall of Fame, but if we have the room to honor the trophies and sports jerseys of past alumni, we should have the room to honor the accomplishments of more recent inductees. Recognizing those alumni provides more modern and diverse role models for the student body. This isn’t simply adding pictures to a wall; it’s giving credit where credit is due.

The wall as it stands is not an accurate refection of THHS in the present – in a school where females outnumber males 7 to 3, an acknowledgement should be made to our female alumni who have achieved great things beyond the walls of THHS.

THHS isn’t an all-male school anymore, and its accomplished alumni go beyond the faces that dominate the wall of our lobby.

Alumni from the old THHS worked tirelessly to reopen the school in 1984, and honoring graduates from the new school is the best way to show that their hard work was worthwhile.