I just celebrated my fiftieth Harper High school reunion, and it was great to see so many of my old high school buddies. There were the cheerleaders who are now grand mothers, football players who were knee replacement candidates and many who were having their own reunion from heaven. It was hard to believe that time flew so fast, and how technology has changed, in 1965 we had no cell phones, computer,internet, film-less cameras(I was a photographer for our newspaper-Harper Highway), however there was one thing that really struck me, who the hell was William Rainey Harper?
Since we did not have tablets, or iPhones in the 1960’s, it was not that easy to obtain information like we can today. Four years of high school and we never had one day to honor our Harper High School founder, William Rainey(why not Sunny) Harper. So lets go to Wikipedia and find out why I was so excited to wear my Red heavy high school sweater, with a big H on it for excelling in the Sport of Checkers, yes, we were Chicago City champs, was born on July 24, 1856 and died at the young age of 49, January 10, 1906, he was an American academic leader and helped established both the University of Chicago and Bradley University, were he served as their first presidents, he also instituted today’s concepts of our community junior colleges, however he opposed the employment of women as teachers, I can kind remember some women teachers who might have proved his point. Thank you Mister Harper and all of our other people, cities, wars and other reasons why we name our schools as we do, but we can do better.
For years our early sports teams, like the Chicago Cubs, played in Wrigley Field, only right to be named after the owner’s chewing gum company, Boston Red Socks played in their home field, Fenway park named after the owners Fenway Reality, in the 1950’s we ended up with Busch Stadium not the Budweiser as originally planned. This set the advertising tone to have our today’s American corporations to have the bragging rights of having Miami Heat basketball fans playing their games in their home, American Airlines Arena, the San Antonio Spurs play in their arena, AT&T Center, and the Denver Nuggets play in the Pepsi center. From Wrigley Field, the naming rights have latched on to our National Football League, AT&T Stadium-Dallas Cowboys, Bank of America Stadium, home of theCarolina Panthers, and the Edward Jones Dome-St. Louis Rams. Even my Chicago White Sox Comiskey Park had it’s name change to US Cellular Field, and I no longer can even get US Cellular phone coverage any more. Corporations have known to pay up to $20 million dollars a year, Citi Field and the Barclay Center, both located in New York City, and even The New York Giants and The New York Jets in 2010, were able to have Met Life cough up a cool $400 million dollars for 25 years of naming rights.
With all of the billion of dollars that corporate america pays for the naming rights so they can get the attention of american sports fans, do they ever consider of buy the naming rights of our much needed high schools so you can mentor our students, institute apprentice and job training and of course have students wear your corporate tee shirts to school?
Just think if we did not have two alumni from Homestead High School in Cupertino California, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak there probably never of been san Apple ComputerCompany that is now known as the Apple Computer Corporation.
Sorry Mister Harper, as much as I appreciated all of the educational innovations you made to our American school system, it’s now the time that I order my new McDonalds High School sweater, with instead of a red cardinal mascot, but with a nice juicy Big Mac!
Yeah Big Mac!