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home : insight & opinion : editorials
July 16, 2019

2/27/2006 3:04:00 PM
Naming gym for Doc Elliott a "no brainer"

Dr. Michael Elliott was the kind of guy in whose vocabulary "no-brainer" was probably a well-used term.

Elliott had a gift for cutting to the chase, for distilling a situation to its essentials and baring its absurdities.

You like that in a doctor, when you're sitting on his examining table. You also like that in a school-board member, when he's got your kids' future and your tax money in his hands.

Elliott displayed that gift too many times to count, but did so most notably in the effort to build a new Robinson High School and gymnasium.

While questions lingered on finances and consolidation of neighboring districts, Elliott was forceful in his support of building a new RHS. And when it began to look as if Unit 2 could not pay for a proposed combined gym and community recreation center, Elliott was one of the first to say so, calling for the district to move ahead on the gym alone.

"I feel like I was elected to take care of our students," he said at a June 2004 board meeting. "I didn't run on a platform that we would build a recreational center." His motion that night failed, but just a month later the board voted to pull out of the rec center agreement.

To Elliott, despite his earlier support of the rec-center vision, moving ahead to build the gym was a no-brainer: You work with what you've got, and take care of the kids. (Fortunately, a community group has taken up the vision - and the $600,000 Marathon donation - in an effort to renovate the 1938 RHS gym building as a community rec center.)

Now, there's another no-brainer that needs action: Naming the new gym after Dr. Michael Elliott.

Are there other people in the history of Robinson schools worthy of having a building named after them? Surely. But when you start thinking of people who combined concern for the community and the kids with a special interest in school athletics - and a special interest in this particular building - the list becomes very short. Ultimately, it boils down to one name that nearly everyone would agree on.

Elliott played basketball and football and ran track at RHS and was instrumental in forming the Robinson Junior Football League. For years, he and other community physicians volunteered to offer free or low-cost sports physicals for hundreds of students. And he served on the Unit 2 board for nearly 20 years. So his impact is clear and his legacy assured, without a name on a building. But for the board to fail to take this step would be to leave unfinished business - something Elliott never tolerated very well, to say the least.

Since this is a no-brainer, we would expect the Unit 2 board to adopt it by acclamation. Board members who have been approached about the word-of-mouth "campaign" to name the gym for Elliott have liked the idea (see story on front page). But just to make sure, we've included their names and phone numbers along with the letter to the editor that appears below this editorial - to give you the opportunity to tell them what a great idea it is.

In fact, it's not just a great idea - it's a no-brainer.

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