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Media Center renamed in honor of female founder Dorothy Davis Turner

In the mid-1900s, students in the Orland area were taught on the second floor of the Orland Village Hall. As enrollment grew, school transitioned to two rooms in the Orland Bank. Eventually, Orland Park High School opened as the predecessor of Carl Sandburg High School, the first of three schools in Consolidated High School District 230.

A woman by the name of Dorothy Davis Turner taught and founded the first high school in Orland. Her efforts to open a local high school fundamentally transformed the area, shifting it from its former agricultural focus to a more suburban area. A coalition of students at Victor J. Andrew High School is looking to give her the recognition she deserves.

The District 230 Board of Education voted to officially rename the Victor J. Andrew Media Center in honor and recognition of the Victor J. Andrew Dorothy Davis Turner Media Center.

Every time the students and faculty are present in the Media Center, whether they are working collaboratively on projects or simply checking out books, Mrs. Davis-Turner’s legacy will be displayed for them to see. Her contributions will be conveyed to the people this district serves.

The coalition members involve Advanced Placement Literature and Composition students who spearheaded the movement which has become in itself an authentic real-world learning process. The students have been meeting with integral stakeholders like District 230 Superintendent Dr. Robert Nolting, Andrew High School Principal Dr. Abir Othman, and members of the Orland Park Historical Museum -a true partnership between the school and the community. 

Andrew teacher Sheila Sullivan says, “Our work, from researching Turner’s sacrifices to dialoguing with these important collaborators, has been a key experience for these AP Literature seniors, teaching them about how to bring change to their community and the steps involved. This project directly correlates to the District 230 mission statement about empowering young people to impact their communities.”

The coalition hopes to provide Victor J. Andrew students with an understanding of their District 230 history and to highlight the selfless efforts of Davis Turner in being a champion for secondary education in our community. 

There is currently no commemoration recognizing the female founder of District 230, and the coalition sees a need to honor Mrs. Davis Turner who, as a young teacher from the University of Chicago, broke barriers, as both a woman and an educator. “We hope to tell Davis Turner’s story in the area to capture the significant accomplishments of this brave educator,” Sullivan added.