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Athletic field moves closer to being named after Burbank High icons

Namesake Jeff Nelson, center, poses with his coaches Dave kemp, left, and Frank Kellam, right, the i
Burbank High School icons Dave Kemp, left, and Frank Kallem, right, pose with Burbank High cross-country legend Jeff Nelson at Los Angeles Griffith Park on Sept. 1. Kemp and Kallem are close to having the honor of Burbank High’s main athletic field being named after them.
(Raul Roa / Burbank Leader)

Burbank High School is one vote away from naming its main athletic field after former school icons Dave Kemp and Frank Kallem.

The Burbank Unified school board is expected to consider the action at its next board meeting on Dec. 20, after the district’s nine-member facilities-naming committee recommended the move to the board at the last board meeting on Nov. 15.

“After careful consideration, the committee was unanimous in wanting to move forward to a public hearing to name the field Kemp-Kallem Field,” said John Paramo, district director of second education.

The district’s next scheduled meeting on Dec. 6 was cancelled, making Dec. 20 the likely day for a vote.


Paramo was a member of the panel that consisted of board members Charlene Tabet and Armond Aghakhanian, resident Debbie Kukta, former resident Randy Arrington, parent Mikel Miller, school district employee Richard Sarquiz, student Lauren Applebaum and Burbank High principal Michael Bertram. Resident Connie Lackey served as an alternate.

The recommendation is the latest step in an ongoing process that began during a board meeting on April 19.

That evening, Arrington, a Burbank High graduate, made a request to name the field after Kemp, which was supported by city resident Mike Nolan.

Kemp, a former teacher, coach, athletic director and board president, also spoke on April 19 and asked the board to add Kallem, his mentor, into the discussion. So, two applications were considered during a meeting of the facilities-naming committee on Oct. 24: one for Dave Kemp Field and the other for Kemp-Kallem Field. The latter was selected.


What remains to be seen is if board members will vote on the name change on Dec. 20 or hold the decision until a later meeting.

“If they wanted to have a second reading — meaning wait until the following board meeting to make it official just so that people in the community wanted to respond — they might do that,” Paramo said in a phone interview. “But I’m not anticipating it.”

While the process to name Burbank High’s athletic field has gone somewhat smoothly, the same cannot be said for what is expected to be a contentious discussion about renaming David Starr Jordan Middle School.

After two postponements for logistical reasons, the facilities-naming committee is expected to discuss the issue at 6 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the district headquarters, located at 1900 W. Olive Ave.

Jordan Middle School is named after the well-known zoologist, educator and first chancellor of Stanford University. Jordan was also a known propagator of eugenics, a theory of controlled breeding and separating of races, which was later espoused by the Nazis.

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