We Are Not Just “Rindge”

Katie Green, Head Copyeditor

“Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School” has always been a mouthful. Of course, there are ways around this—an acronym that is “CRLS” the most common. However, one of the most common nicknames, heard both in the halls and within offices, is simply “Rindge.”

This particular shortcut has garnered a significant amount of annoyance from CRLS alumni who attended its predecessor school, Cambridge High and Latin, simply due to the omission of “Latin.” But is leaving it out really that much of a statement? Maybe not consciously, but calling CRLS just “Rindge” defeats the entire purpose of a conflict that occurred specifically to keep “Latin” in the name.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin originates from two Cambridge high schools: Rindge Technical School and Cambridge High and Latin School. Rindge Tech was founded in 1888 as the Cambridge Manual Training School, only enrolling boys. Its building still exists in CRLS, albeit renovated. High and Latin was a co-ed school created in 1910 and provided more traditional education compared to Rindge Tech. Modern CRLS does not use any of its facilities, as they were torn down.

In 1974, mostly due to the High and Latin building’s deteriorating state, the Cambridge School Committee voted for it to merge with Rindge Tech. It was also decided that the name of the new school would derive only from the latter; Frederick Rindge, the man it was named after, had initially donated the land where both schools were located.

This decision was met with significant backlash from High and Latin students and staff, who felt their identity would be erased. Just days after the announcement, 610 students and faculty signed a petition to keep High and Latin in the school’s name.

Even so, the merger continued as planned, ignoring the outcry. The students only got more persistent—they organized several walkouts and protests, continuing to contest the School Committee, until administrators saw no choice other than to combine the two names. It had been made clear to them that both student bodies had unique demographics, extracurriculars, mascots, mottos, histories—and, overall, equally important identities. In 1978, the Committee decided on Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

From their sheer persistence, it’s obvious that High and Latin students pushing for their inclusion saw importance in securing their name. It wasn’t just a recommendation to them, it was a requirement. Otherwise, only Rindge Tech would be actively acknowledged as CRLS history.

Today, however, what they fought to avoid seems like the reality—High and Latin is only further forgotten as it’s kept out of the diminutive. The last students of High and Latin won the fight for their representation, but how can their mark stay when CRLS students or staff do not refer to it as Cambridge Rindge and Latin?

Today, what past students at High and Latin fought to avoid seems like the reality. ”

There’s no way to force people to change how they speak—at least, not without resistance. But, I do believe there is an importance to acknowledging our entire school’s name. Even to a 16-year-old as myself, it feels a bit backwards to reduce the name of the school when so much effort was put into exactly the opposite. If we ignore former students’ effort, it disrespects years of debate that led to our school becoming what it is today.

The least we can do to acknowledge the conflict and history behind our school’s name is to satisfy both parts of it in print—that is, not referring to our school only as “Rindge” in the Register Forum and in other school-produced writings.

I understand the inconveniences that come with a name as long as our school’s, but there are several other ways to shorten it without omitting the part most fought for.

This piece also appears in our September 2018 print edition.