One woman’s dedication to the school district, forgotten in Long Beach’s history, was remembered during the Lindell School’s rededication ceremony Tuesday evening.
Irene Dougherty served as Long Beach’s Board of Education president from 1935 to 1941, during a time period Long Beach Junior Senior High School, which is now Lindell School, was constructed. The building housed the high school from 1940 to 1971.
“I have told the story several times now and I am going to keep telling the story,” Board of Education trustee Patrick Gallagher said. “The story is of a woman in Long Beach who struggled to make a difference and really made a difference. What a beautiful building she built.”
The memory of Dougherty was sparked when Gallagher began to research the school’s history after it was decided that Lindell needed a dedication plaque. He knew there was more to the story than was first apparent.
Gallagher searched through old yearbooks and found a poignant dedication to Dougherty in the 1941 ECHO. It said that as president, she proved that she was “more than worthy” to the distinction of the title she held, specifically recognizing the success of constructing the new high school.
It was interesting that a woman was president for six years during that time period, Gallagher reflected, and the passage focused on her, not the other board members.
“I was fascinated to find this women, Irene Dougherty,” he said. “The great part of this story is that this woman was forgotten … The story is about a lost women in Long Beach history.”
Superintendent David Weiss explained that since the re-preservation and infrastructural work was just about completed on the building, it was time to celebrate this accomplishment with the school’s first dedication plaque.
As part of its School Preservation Plan and additional emergency work in recent years, the district replaced the capping along the top of the building, refaced the façade with new brick and stone, made repairs to the roof and installed an elevator, Gallagher said.
In order to preserve her efforts in helping to get the original high school built, Dougherty’s name, along with the other former and current board members, were included on the new plaque at Lindell.
“[The plaque] identifies the original board when the building was constructed, as well as commemorating the work that was done during the reconstruction plan,” Weiss said.
After a long period of construction, it is great to have the students at Lindell educated in an almost brand new building, said Gerri Maquet, president of Central Council PTA, following ceremony.
She said that the historical portion of the dedication is important because it shows the school’s origins, and that the rededication was a sign that the district was moving forward with upgrading its facilities.
“It is all about the kids – all of this,” Maquet added. “You have to have a good facility to learn in.”