MONTCLAIR, NJ - Mt. Hebron Middle School officially becomes the Buzz Aldrin Middle School.
After a vote of the Montclair Board of Education during Monday's meeting, the school will now be named after the famed astronaut who spent his life in Montclair and attended Montclair Public Schools all the way through.
Born Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. on January 20, 1930 at Mountainside Hospital, he graduated from Montclair High School in 1947.
Aldrin went on to later become the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11 and set foot on the Moon on July 21, 1969 following Neil Armstrong. This was the first manned lunar landing in history.
Fresh out of Montclair High School, reports say that Aldrin turned down a full scholarship offer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating third in his class from West Point in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Aldrin was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Aldrin served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. After his service in combat, the former U.S. Air Force officer and a Command Pilot went on in 1963 to earn a Doctor of Science degree in Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology--- the school that had offered him the full-ride scholarship right out of high school.
He applied to become an astronaut twice, but his initial application was rejected because he had never been a test pilot. The second time around, that prerequisite was lifted when he re-applied and was accepted into the third astronaut class.
For Aldrin to have accomplished all that he has and having come from Montclair, residents wanted this renaming to demonstrate how proud they were that he was born and raised in the community that they now live in.
The nickname "Buzz" originated in childhood when the younger of his two elder sisters mispronounced "brother" as "buzzer", and this was shortened to Buzz. However, in 1988, Aldrin made it his legal first name.
A campaign to rename Mt. Hebron Middle School, years in the making, finally was placed before the Montclair Board of Education to be voted on during Monday night's regular Board of Education Meeting.
A vote of 6 to 0, with 1 abstention, passed this historic vote.
The auditorium will be renamed after the former school, while the building will be named after former student and Mt. Hebron alum, Aldrin.
The decision was met with mixed opinions, with many residents continuing to debate both sides.
At this point, the decision has been made. The debate now rests.
Since retiring from NASA, Aldrin has continued to work toward space exploration and now focuses his efforts on Mars.
According to his bio, he devised a master plan for missions to Mars known as the “Aldrin Mars Cycler”, which is a spacecraft system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars.
Aldrin has received three US patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules for space flight and gone on to found Starcraft Boosters, Inc., a rocket design company. He is also the founder of Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to addressing science literacy for children by igniting their passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).
In November of 2011, Aldrin was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, along with the other Apollo 11 crew members. The author of nine books including his New York Times best-selling autobiography entitled, “Magnificent Desolation,” has most recently been honored by Florida Tech with the forming of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute in August.