SPUSD: Board members signal approval for naming swimming pool Roger Boles’ honor

April 15, 2016
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Unified School District board signaled at their Wednesday meeting that the high school 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 Jannette 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.

A noted author who has written extensively about war veterans, Jauregui first brought the issue to the SPUSD Board and then started a petition campaign to name the pool in Boles honor while also honoring other veterans. 

For Jauregui the effort was “twofold” to honor Boles and fulfill his goal to return from war and “give back to his hometown community by working to have a pool constructed — a pool he hoped would be dedicated to,” those Santa Paulans who did not return from war. 

There was little discussion at the meeting after Harvey addressed the board — he had also done so a year ago noting Boles many accomplishments.

That included leading a fighter squadron, an “unusual” responsibility for one not an Annapolis grad. 

“In sports, community, church and in student leadership, he impressed all who knew him,” Harvey said. “That leadership was reflected throughout his Navy service during WWII. He was the leader of the fighter squadron VF-19 and was recommended for promotion to Lt. Commander at the time of his death.”

Harvey noted, “I’ve often wondered if Roger’s short note to Mr. Akin spurred the pool project on…I’d like to believe so.”

As Boles was a “fine example of American youth stepping up at that critical time in our history to defend and preserve our freedoms,” Harvey said, “We trust the board will look favorably on dedicating the swimming pool area as The Roger S. Boles Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool. It would be a fitting tribute…”

Board Member Michelle Kolbeck noted the effort to recognize Boles has been an ongoing one.

“My understanding is they’ve been patient with us, it’s been two years,” since the request was initially made.

“I think they’ve done their research,” and Kolbeck said she is “very impressed” with the effort to document Boles’ life and interest in a pool at his alma mater.

A “very fine job” was done on the research said Board Member  Christina Urias. “I don’t know how anybody could oppose this.”

Superintendent Alfonso Gamino said the issue would be on the next board meeting agenda for a public hearing and approval.

“I want to thank staff for coming back so quickly with a policy,” said Kolbeck especially as such tributes are an important part of the city’s past.

“Santa Paula is great,” she added, “because of our history.”

Gamino noted Jauregui first approached him when he was new on the job: “I asked her for time,” while he settled in “and she was gracious.”

Jauregui was out of town and could not attend the meeting but wrote, “For me this project is twofold. Roger had a goal to return from World War II and give back to his hometown community by working to have a pool constructed — a pool he hoped would be dedicated to the men and women from Santa Paula who never made it home from the war. Roger became one of those lost heroes. It’s our obligation to finish what he 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.”

The hearing will be held for board consideration on May 11. 

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.