Reading School Committee
United States of America

John Hollingsworth served the citizens and youth of Reading for 27 years as school teacher, coach, athletic director, and mentor with humility, compassion, humor and honesty. He is the longest tenured football coach in RMHS history.

Over a span of twenty years, he coached five Middlesex League champions, won 100 games, and has been elected to both the Massachusetts Football Coach and RMHS Athletics Halls of Fame. Coach Hollingsworth is arguably the most successful football coach in RMHS history, and his on-field record is unassailable. However, for the community in which he lived and raised his family, his impact stretches far beyond the field, into the classroom, and through the fabric of Reading life.

There is no greater example of leadership and devotion to Reading's youth, as he inspired generations of Reading students to live principled lives and strive for excellence through discipline, hard work and unwavering commitment. More than 25 years after his retirement, scores of Reading families fondly remember this man, his words, his demeanor, and his general approach to life. It is because of these of these attributes that his impact shines to this day.

As a means of honoring its most influential educators, the Reading Public Schools established a process for naming various educational facilities after deserving individuals. Suggestions for naming the football field for Coach Hollingsworth have been floated about since the 1980s, but there was no defined means to make this happen. By following the newly created process, a group of ardent supporters nominated Coach Hollingsworth in 2010. His name was the only finalist chosen by a special Naming Sub-Committee to be forwarded to the School Committee for consideration. In February, 2011, contrary to strong public support and the Naming Sub-Committee’s recommendation, the Reading School Committee rejected John Hollingsworth as worthy of this honor by a 5-1 vote.

The explanations given to date for this decision seem to be at odds with the clear intent of the facility naming process. No other names have been placed in nomination and no objections have been voiced by the school committee members regarding Coach Hollingsworth's character, contributions or record of achievement.

We feel the School Committee's decision is arbitrary and without merit. We therefore ask that the School Committee immediately reopen the nomination of John Hollingsworth for public discourse, re-examine the merits of his nomination and, accordingly, name the football field at Reading Memorial High School “John Hollingsworth Field”. Doing so will not only honor the man, but also the Town of Reading and all of its citizens, past and present.

We the undersigned are FOR the Reading School Committee reconvening and naming the football field at Reading Memorial High School “John Hollingsworth Field”.

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The John Hollingsworth Field at RMHS petition to Reading School Committee was written by Don Rice and is in the category Education at GoPetition.