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January 31, 2005


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Catherine is right, we should be pursuing improvement of academic life among other important matters. Utter nonsense to be changing a name that has been in place and recognized as a respected institution for over 200 years. Will be writing a letter from home tonight expressing my outrage and disappointment in the institution as a whole. All calls are encouraged Auntie Sissy!!

Let's see... the name's been the same since 1763... and now suddenly it's a problem??? Who are these "board of directors"? And why can they, after all these years just up and change something with that lineage? Geeze, they need to get a grip! If their marketing isn't going as expected, this could be because the marketers are NOT doing their job, not because the name of the academy is not what they would like!

And if they had such an objection to the name, why did they take the directorships in the first place! Can you tell I hate it when people meddle with a tradition that is doing no harm! And I've never even heard of the school before this. The board are a bunch of wankers!

To present an accurate history of the name I present the following. The school was origionally know as Dummer Academy. When Ted Eames became headmaster in the 1930's he didn't really like the saying "go to Dummer and get dumber," so he changed the name to Governor Dummer Academy.

Many distinguished schools changed their names after they were established, including Yale (which began as the Collegiate School) and Princeton (College of New Jersey). Those changes were clearly for the better, as early generic names gave way to distinctive and memorable replacements. But the change from Governor Dummer Academy to The Governor's Academy is the reverse, going from bold to bland. And is the legacy of founder William Dummer honored by omitting from the institution his surname in favor of his job title? Sounds like a training camp for future politicians.

If Dummer is unsuitable in the school's name due an unfortunate confusion with "dumber," then a better choice is to name the school after its community, like Groton, Deerfield, Andover and Exeter. Since Newbury Academy is already taken, the best choice would be Byfield Academy, after the lovely old village (and mailing address) where it is situated.

But is Byfield Academy too big a change from Governor Dummer Academy? What does The Governor's Academy retain from the school's 1763 name, Dumm'r Charity School? Absolutely nothing. So if change is unavoidable, make it a real improvement, something that is unique, historically significant, and easy to cheer at sports events. Go, Byfield!

Great comments. I couldn't agree more.

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