To the editor:
I was happy to read recently that the new K-3 school in Newburyport will be named the Bresnahan School. As a native of Newburyport who attended the school when it was called the Belleville School, I am grateful that the School Committee voted to use the name of Francis Bresnahan to represent the new school. Mr. Bresnahan was a driving force in educating the children of Newburyport for 40 years and his service to the city deserves our respect and admiration.
However, I am writing to you today in hopes that while honoring Mr. Bresnahan’s contributions we do not lose sight of the contributions made by my father, Joseph Donnelly. The library in the Bresnahan School was named the Donnelly library and I hopeful that this tradition continues. My father served as principal of the Belleville school for 28 years. He cared for the children at the Belleville school as if they were all his own. I seldom meet a former “Belleville Bee” without the conversation first turning toward the welfare of my parents and, secondly, that person reminiscing about how my father is a small part in some of their fondest memories. Whether it is the Barrel of Fun fair, being a patrol, playing flag football, etc., this seemingly endless list of small contributions he made to the lives of his students add up to being a large part of wonderful childhoods.
My father also served as assistant superintendent of schools and helped fill the large void when Mr. Bresnahan fell ill. I can speak firsthand about the sacrifices that it took for him to fill both roles. My father has far too much humility to speak of his contributions on his own. I suffer from no such reservations. My father cares more about education than anyone I have ever met; it would only be appropriate that such a fundamental part of a child’s learning experience, the library, continue to be named after him. I hope the School Committee and new superintendent consider remembering Francis Bresnahan and Joseph Donnelly together.