Editorial: ‘What’s in a name?’

Shakespeare put it best when he penned, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The great playwright wrote those words in the late 16th century for the young lover Juliet to ponder. Now, hundreds of years later, that question remains as prevalent a query as the first time those words were recited on stage.

It’s a question that has come to the forefront of the borough’s Catholic school community following the announced merger of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Hedwig schools.

The merger, which goes into effect in the upcoming school year, is an effort to save Catholic education in Naugatuck at a time when both schools’ enrollment and financial support are dwindling.

The Archdiocese of Hartford announced the merged school, which will be housed at St. Francis, will have a new name—St. Theresa School. The proposed name has been met by backlash from some in the community.

Like Juliet, we ask, what’s in a name?

For a group of parents and alumni from St. Francis the name St. Theresa means a loss of tradition, history and a sense of connection to the community.

For the Archdiocese and Rev. Michael Slusz, pastor of St. Francis Church, the name St. Theresa represents a new start for the schools as they enter into their next chapter.

For us these arguments are much ado about nothing.

As Shakespeare put it, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. A school by any other name would educate as well.
However, times have changed since Shakespeare told his tale of the Capulets and Montagues. Today, what’s in a name is a bevy of legal consequences.

It has been reported that under the bylaws of the St. Francis School Foundation if the words “St. Francis” are taken out of the school’s name, the foundation’s money will be frozen in a trust fund for five years before being transferred back to the parish.
This is much ado about everything.

At a time when the schools are merging due to financial troubles risking endowments for five years is foolish and directly impacts the most important people of all—the students.

There’s no reason to jeopardize the future of students who will go to the new school, especially over a name.

The time has come to put this issue to rest and place the focus back where it should be, on making the transition for students a smooth and successful one.

If that means the Archdiocese changes the school’s name from St. Theresa to a moniker that will satisfy parents, alumni and the foundation, then it must be done.

After all, what’s in a name?