Helmer Petersen (posthumously)
From the early 1940’s to the early 1970’s (when he passed away), Helmer Petersen was the educational leader of the West Babylon Schools. He held the position known then as District Principal and later as Superintendent of Schools. During this entire period, he was also a resident in the school district and his two sons attended and graduated from West Babylon Schools.
His period of service was no ordinary time. Veterans had returned home from World War II service and had begun to move their new families to the suburbs. Mr. Petersen had been a United States Marine during the war. When he first led the District, he found it consisted of one building, the “Main Building”, which soon was unable to house the growing population. In 1958, West Babylon had its very first high school graduating class. Construction began on a new high school building which was located on the “Haab Farm” and the Class of 1960 became the first class to graduate from that building. Helmer Petersen led the District through these remarkable years. In addition to the growing student population and construction issues, he needed to build a staff at a time when there was a tremendous demand for teachers. He aggressively took trips to teacher training colleges all over the country to recruit the finest teachers he could find and he was extremely successful. Mr. Petersen’s legacy is that he was “a man of devotion, purpose and leadership”.
“Enter to learn, go forth to serve”.