East to name football stadium after board member

The newly renovated Proviso East football and athletics stadium, due to reopen in October, will be named after a serving member of the District 209 school board. The decision sparked reactions from board members who wanted more public participation in the name change process.

The D209 board of directors voted 4-2 on September 14 to accept the superintendent. James Henderson’s recommendation to name the stadium after Theresa L. Kelly, the longest-serving school board member in district history. Kelly has been a member of the board of directors for 22 years.

“We are sitting here, because [Kelly] brought us all together, ”said board member Sam Valtierrez, who along with D209 board chairman Rodney Alexander, Della Patterson and Kelly herself voted in favor of the motion.

School board members Ned Wagner and Amanda Grant voted against the measure while board member Claudia Medina was not present for the vote.

“I would like to ask anyone under the sound of my voice who has volunteered for 22 years anything for free,” Alexander said on September 14. “I’ll wait.… She stayed the course for 22 years as we did what we were doing.… We want people to look at this stadium and see what a life of service and dedication looks like.”

Patterson spoke of the possible reluctance of some who might wonder why the board did not rename the stadium in honor of an athlete, especially a successful soccer player.

“What about all the NFL players? And them? Some NFL players came back and did a few football camps for some of our students, ”Patterson said. “I don’t remember where there was this huge gift from a professional football player.”

But Wagner and Grant said they would have liked to see more public participation before the board made the decision to rename the stadium.

“I like the idea of ​​releasing it in the community,” Wagner said.

“I really don’t like the idea of ​​naming the stadium after a person when there have been so many people over the years who have made an impact – on the pitch, off the pitch,” Grant said.

“The best idea would be to show it to the community, taxpayers and alumni to see what they would do.” [like to name the stadium]Grant added, before noting that she would have preferred they had simply avoided renaming the stadium.

“When we don’t name it after someone, it continues to belong to everyone,” she said.

“The stadium will always belong to everyone,” said Patterson. “His name recognizes only his sweat, his tears, his time, his talent and his treasure. I watched the lady buy children’s clothes, give the kids money and no one knew.

“We don’t have to honor the people who throw a soccer ball for a living,” Alexander said. ” It is a sport. His entertainment. … We want to applaud the progression of community service. We want people to look at this stadium and see what a life of service and dedication looks like. ”

The old Proviso East football stadium was demolished late last year as part of the district facilities master plan process, started under former D209 manager Jesse Rodriguez.

The stadium renovation is part of the first phase of the master plan projects, which also included the construction of new parking lots in district schools and the installation of air conditioning on some floors in Proviso East and West, among other construction works. important.

CONTACT: [email protected]

About the author