Herman Chamberlain School
your L.I. Advance letter re John Conquest
being the first afro-american administrator in
the district. Think you suffered a "senior
moment" since Les Manigault and Julia Skrine
were there as early as 1970 and John came
considerably later - and then as a "community
coordinator." I also think that Lucius Ware
(Hampton Ave.) came before John but am not
My vote for naming
the Middle School is "The Herman Chamberlain
School" since Herm presided over the
centralization of CSD#4 (later South Country
School District) in his role as supervising
principal. (There was not a superintendent
position at the time.) Mr. Chamberlain
presided over the creation of what was then
one of the best districts in Suffolk and, most
likely, the best. He hired Cooley, Feeney,
Stock, Baldwin, Reynolds, etc in this
process. I can remember when the real estate
ads read "in CSD#4" in order to hasten sales
to people moving to the area with children of
Why not name the
Boys/Girls club building for John?
Would have responded
earlier but got back from a couple of months
in Florida last week
Trust you and Gloria are
The following is
the letter to the Editor which appeared in the
Long Island Advance on 2/26/09.
Name middle school after Conquest
I would like to
congratulate the South Country School District
for honoring John Conquest by naming a sports
award in his honor. It is however, in my
opinion, too little, but luckily not too late
John came to South Country
when our district, like many multi-cultural
districts on Long Island, were being forced to
deal with emerging racial issues.
John served as community
coordinator and both middle school and high
school assistant principal during his years of
service to South Country. He was a volunteer
coach every season he was employed here and
continued to do so in retirement. In those
years, he was the go-to guy, not only for
coaches and athletes, but for all
school/community problems and issues. John was
and still is respected by students, staff and
Being sent to JC’s office
was not something students looked forward to.
At the same time, students needing help with
personal problems or in need of advice were
quick to seek his counsel. Many, now as young
adults with families of their own, still do.
Our district has a history
of honoring retired administrators by naming a
school building (Verne W. Critz and Frank P.
Long) in their honor. I think the time has
come to do so for South Country’s first
I would suggest that we
select the middle school, since it sits at the
gateway to our village district.
James P. McGowan
Long Island Advance
James P. McGowan is a retired Bellport
High School teacher, Science Chairman, and
former Bellport boys’ basketball coach. This
letter refers to an article which appeared in
the Long Island Advance on 02/19/09 and is
reprinted in this Newsletter (Follow Link
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