A campaign to rename Malverne High School in honor of former teacher Elizabeth Carol Cherry is finding support even as opponents say the school's name should not change.
Cherry, a teacher at Maurice W. Downing Elementary School from 1975 to 2006, died last year of a heart attack. She was 59.
Lynn Singleton, 44, of Lakeview, an executive board member of the Lakeview NAACP whose two children were taught by Cherry, started an online petition in April to rename the school the Elizabeth Carol Cherry Memorial High School.
"She was an educator and a motivator that encouraged her students to 'shoot for the stars,' and she had a personality that would light up any dark room," said Singleton.
The online petition is being promoted via a Facebook page and through emails to students, parents and residents of Malverne, Lynbrook and Lakeview, according to Singleton, who said 329 electronic signatures and a few hundred written signatures have been collected.
Marc Loftus, 41, of Lynbrook, a member of the 1987 class, started an opposition page two weeks ago on Facebook that has gathered 370 electronic signatures, most from alumni, he said.
"It was Malverne then, it is Malverne now and it will always be Malverne," said Loftus. The appropriate way to honor Cherry is to rename the library or another school room in her name, he said, adding. "No one person should be singled out, especially someone who never actually taught at the school."
The renaming petition is at www.ipetitions.com/petition/rename_malverne_hs/
The opposition petition is at www.ipetitions.com/petition/malvernehighschoolbynoothername/