Tri-Village News

Middle school soon will bear Larson's name

Former teacher, AD, sports guru 'touched' by board's decision

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TIM JOHNSON/THISWEEKNEWS
Larry Larson speaks to the Grandview Heights class of 2011 during its commencement ceremony. The middle school portion of Edison Intermediate/Middle School soon will be known as Larry Larson Middle School after the board's decision last week.
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Mr. High School Sports is now Mr. Middle School, too.

The Grandview Heights school board Oct. 15 unanimously voted to rename the middle school portion of Edison Intermediate/Middle School as Larry Larson Middle School.

A facility-naming committee recommended renaming the building for Larson.

The committee was formed to consider if there were people whose contributions to the school district were worthy of recognition and which facilities would be most appropriate to name after an honoree, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said.

Larson, who now lives in California, worked as a teacher, coach and athletic director in Grandview from 1966 until his retirement in 1994. He continues to oversee the annual fifth- and sixth-grade camps for the district each spring.

While the renaming unofficially is effective with the board's vote, the district must file paperwork with the state to make the name change official, O'Reilly said.

A community celebration will be scheduled for April, when Larson returns to town for the camps, he said.

"We may have to think about finding a site that would be large enough to accommodate the crowd," O'Reilly said. "There are so many people whose lives have been touched by Larry."

While the section of the building housing fourth- and fifth-grade students will officially still be known as Edison Intermediate School, O'Reilly said he expects most in the community will end up referring to the entire building as "the Larry Larson School."

The naming committee's work and its recommendation was kept secret until the board meeting, and O'Reilly phoned Larson during the meeting to tell him the news.

Larson's reaction: "Whoa. You sure you guys want to do this?"

O'Reilly told Larson that the committee had brought forward only one recommended name for the honor.

"I really don't know what to say about this," Larson said. "I'm very touched. Something like this, it's forever.

"Are you guys 100 percent sure?" he asked again.

"Unanimous is an understatement here," board President Grant Douglass said.

The honor recognizes Larson for all he has done for the community as a athletic director, coach, teacher, mentor and leader, Douglass said, adding Larson has helped bring the community together.

Committee Chairman Curt Berlin noted that when Grandview had two elementary schools, Larson would organize a joint track meet to bring students from both schools together before they all started attending the middle school.

It is appropriate to name the middle school after Larson, he said.

Larson became known as Mr. High School Sports for his athletic reports on WTVN radio. He also is a former ThisWeek News columnist.

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