SPUSD Board agrees to dedicate high school pool to Roger Boles, veterans

May 13, 2016
Santa Paula News

Janette Jauregui and supporters have done it again: the Santa Paula High School graduate and noted writer that has focused on veterans and their issues got her wish Wednesday evening when it was decided that the SPHS pool will be named in honor of an alumnus killed in war.

The Santa Paula Unified School District board unanimously agreed at a May 11 meeting that the pool will be named in honor of Roger Boles, a Class of 1934 graduate and World War II squadron leader killed in 1944.

Known for his scholastic and athletic abilities after attending USC Boles enlisted in the Navy where he became a flight instructor and later a squadron leader. In combat for only four months Boles was killed in a plane crash in November 1944.

The effort to name the pool in his honor was begun about three years ago by Jauregui when she learned from Boles’ biographer Phil Harvey that one of Boles’ last communications to his former high school principal Freeman Akin had addressed constructing a pool.

Years later the pool was built right where Boles suggested.

Jauregui first brought the issue to the SPUSD Board and then launched a petition campaign to name the pool in Boles honor while also honoring other veterans.

Boles’ biographer Phil Harvey told the board Wednesday that if Boles had returned from war “He would have been a great asset to the valley…this is where his heart was. I am sure he was a leader we could have benefited from…”

A bunkmate of Boles’, George Jones, who later joined the New York Times, wrote Boles’ mother that her son, “A rare beautiful character…typifies the best of our American youth in this war.” 

Superintendent Alfonso Gambino thanked Jauregui “for your patience…” and noted the district is “Going to look at painting, doing something with the pool and then finding the ideal date and time,” for the dedication.

Jauregui told the board “And I’m going to start the fundraising effort for the plaque,” so future generations will know the dream of one WWII veteran on behalf of others who lost their lives become a reality, even after he himself was killed.

Jauregui also led an earlier effort to have the tennis courts named after the district’s longtime coaches.

“I’m really excited,” Jauregui said Thursday morning. 

“For me there’s really two purposes…the first was to finish what Roger started, he wanted the pool built for the community. And he wanted it built in honor of his fallen comrades…and he became one of those.

“It’s also important to me that future generations know the contributions of Roger and all the veterans of Santa Paula; it’s twofold to me that way.”

In an earlier interview Jauregui noted, “It’s our obligation to finish what Roger started. If we are to leave future generations with anything, it should be with the stories of sacrifice and of selflessness of Santa Paulans that gave what they had to make our community a better place.”

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