13: MVRHS Basketball
A plaque in the main foyer of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School honors the achievements of the school basketball teams of the early 1970’s. These teams had been highly successful and were drawn from every Island ethnic community. Basketball has been an important part of interethnic communication on the Island and the basketball courts in Oak Bluffs have for many years been the scene for kids from all ethnic communities to play ball together and build relationships.
The suggestion for this plaque had come from the island community and its installation generated both interest and controversy. The former Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School principal, Dr. Gregory Scotten, supported the notion of honoring the teams that had brought distinction to the school, particularly since the players represented the Vineyard’s diverse ethnic communities.
Some suggested that the appropriate place for the plaque was the school’s athletic area, but only the athletes use this area of the school building and such a distant placement was not acceptable to the board of the Heritage Trail History Project.
The board felt that the plaque should be displayed in the main entrance hall of the school in a place of distinction among the school’s many honors where it could be seen by everyone who entered the building. The most important consideration was the prominent placement of the various Vineyard family names whose accomplishments and histories would never again fade from memory. In this way two of the most important aspects of the Heritage Trail’s mission could be realized: restoring the lost histories and recording the undocumented achievements of our community. The list of family names on the plaque is now a point of interest for students who take pride in identifying their family members.
Amaury Bannister and Ronald Brown, two African Americans former student who had played with great distinction for the team, dedicated the plaque.
At the reception following the dedication, Lester Baptiste, one of the former athletes whose name is inscribed spoke briefly:
“This plaque means a lot to me. All of our names are on it, and we are not the kind of people who get our names on plaques. I will never forget this.”