A new name and a new mission is giving the Sheepshead Bay High School campus a new lease on life.
The property that is home to the soon-to-be-shuttered high school, and four other schools that recently relocated there, was renamed the Frank J. Macchiarola Educational Complex on Nov. 13.
Frank Macchiarola was the city’s school chancellor for five years from 1978–1983, and the chairman of the former School Board 22 — which included Sheepshead Bay — before he became chancellor of his alma mater, St. Francis College.
Macchiarola’s wife Mary and son Joseph both attended the ceremony, and the son delivered an optimistic speech to the students, encouraging them to live up to the campus’s namesake.
“My son told them it was up to them to keep the legacy of Frank alive they had to do it by their doing, being the best they could be,” said Mary Macchiarola. “That remains to be seen and hopefully that happens.”
Sheepshead Bay High School — its fate sealed by a “D” grade in its 2011–12 Progress Report — will close in June 2016, after its final class graduates.
The new complex now also includes Advanced Math and Science III High School, Humanities III High School, Origins High School, Professional Pathways High School.
Mary Macchiarola said the Department of Education approached her with the renaming suggestion in 2013, less than a year after her husband died. The ceremony was scheduled to happen sometime before the end of last year’s school session but she said plans were postponed because one of the new high school’s move into the complex was delayed — but now that everything is final, she is celebrating.
“What had originally planned on being done at last year at the latest, a host of different things kind of held it up,” she said. “The bottom line is, it is done and it is wonderful.”
Throughout the delays, Mary Macchiarola said she had the pleasure of meeting with the principals of all five schools in the complex and she said she shares the faculty’s hope that the students will succeed on the renamed campus.
“Our hearts are all there, in more ways than one,” she said. “We’re all hoping for the very same — that things will turn around and the kids will do well.”