“Someday statesmen will be wise enough to adjust the problems of the world without calling upon the youth of the land to settle their affairs for them with guns.” – Weldon E. Howitt
Here in Farmingdale, USA our middle school is named “The Weldon E. Howitt Middle School”.
Who, in fact, was Weldon E. Howitt?
Weldon E. Howitt was a man who made such positive contributions to our community that he was, at the time, the only living man in Farmingdale, and probably all of Long Island, to have a school named after him. He was a real man of the community. A community builder in fact.
Farmingdale hired Mr. Howitt to teach biology, physical geography, physics and chemistry back in 1919. With 400 students and a dozen teachers under his wing, he also became the acting principal of the Farmingdale High School in 1929. He held that position until 1945 at which time he opined, “Someday statesmen will be wise enough to adjust the problems of the world without calling upon the youth of the land to settle their affairs for them with guns.” Through the Great Depression and World War II he steered the district and the community through very tough times. In fact, monies were so tight that, in 1936 if you were a graduating senior you received a mimeographed yearbook!
But Mr. Howitt decided to take a stand and make a difference. He, and a group of his compatriots wanted to stop the foreclosures of homes in the Farmingdale School District. They formed the Bethpage-Farmingdale Federal Savings & Loan Association to help those individuals save their homes.
Not stopping at helping the community with regards to educating its children and housing those in need, he went yet another step to feed Farmingdale’s hungry. During WW II, Mr. Howitt got together with the Jr. Red Cross and planted “Victory Gardens”. Those crops were canned and distributed to local needy families. Sales of fresh vegetables were also sold and their proceeds allowed the community to buy gift boxes for veterans in local VA hospitals.
During his 26-year term as principal the rate of graduating seniors grew from one in 1919, to 100 in 1945. As the population swelled so did the children attending the district school. Thier numbers hit upward of 1,500 which facilitated Mr. Howitt to oversee the two additions to the Main Street School in 1922 and 1929, the north wing containing the gymnasium and auditorium.
With the district’s academic reputation soaring he expanded the sports program by introducing interscholastic football in 1934. In the following years under Mr. Howitt’s watch students from the surrounding districts found Farmingdale increasingly appealing. Seven years after his retirement enrollment surged to over 2,800 students. To keep up with this population explosion a new high school was needed and in 1953, Weldon E. Howitt High School opened serving grades seven through 12.
Later, a new high school would be built at 150 Lincoln Street and the Weldon E. Howitt High School would become the middle school.
Mr. Howitt made Farmingdale his home until he passed in 1981. He was 96 years old.
His selfless, life-long devotion his community, it’s education, health and the welfare of all of Farmingdale’s children gives us no pause to understand why we paid tribute by naming one of our schools after this local legend.
I hope this gives you an idea on why we named our school after a man named Weldon E. Howitt. Now that you know a little bit about him it kinda makes you proud to get to participate in his legacy, no?
God bless Mr. Howitt!