An update on the historic name changes of two public schools in the city of Trenton.

The school board ceremony for the new Dr. Crosby Copeland Jr. Elementary School (formerly Columbus) will take place on Tuesday, August 30th.

A special event is scheduled from 9am to 11:30am on the school campus at 1200 Brunswick Ave.

What did Dr. Copeland not do as a father, as a husband, as an educator, as an athlete, as a learner, as a follower of the faith, etc.?

“Coop” never mastered golf, but that condition keeps everyone playing the game he enjoyed. Dr. Copeland has found success in nearly every life he walks.

Dr. Crosby Copeland
Dr. Crosby Copeland

After graduating from Trenton Central High School in 1951, Copeland attended Grambling State College on an academic and athletic scholarship, where he played football under legendary coach Eddie Robinson.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Bachelor’s degree in three sports, where he met his wife of 65 years, Roseley Copeland (Frasier). They raised his two sons, Crosby III and Sean.

Copeland served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958, remaining in the Army Reserves until 1964.

Dr. Copeland knew what everyone should know — education has a wonderful correlation with success.

Copeland received a master’s degree from Trenton State University (now the University of New Jersey), administrative qualifications from Rutgers University and Seton Hall University, and a doctorate in education from Nova University.

He began his career as a teacher in the classroom at Trenton Elementary School, later serving as Vice Principal of Second Middle School and Principal of First Parker Elementary and Middle School. From 1971 to 1982, Dr. Copeland was the first African-American to serve as principal of Central High School in Trenton.

And Dr. Copeland Jr. was central to his life and important to his focus, celebrating a faithful and faithful time as a parishioner of Shiloh Baptist Church.

Copeland, 87, passed away in February 2021. He fulfilled the unfortunate requirement that any candidate presented for this honor must be deceased or be promoted as an exceptional living candidate. Dr. Copeland was almost perfectly selected for such a prestigious honor.

Hopefully, this celebration and survey of his amazing life will highlight the power of education, family and faith in the city of Trenton.

Trenton Public Schools will replace Wilson Elementary School’s name with Darlene C. McKnight Elementary School on August 30.

The McKnight ceremony will begin at 1:00 PM in the schoolyard at 175 Girard Ave.

LA Parker is a Trentonian columnist. Find him on Twitter @LAParker6 or email

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