Everett Man’s Legacy: High School Library Dedication to Larry O’Donnell


How can we honor all of the things Lawrence E. O’Donnell has done over the years…that is what Everett High School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) president Brenda White and Principal Kelly Shepherd set out to do.

Lawrence E. O’Donnell Everett High Library is the new name for the former Everett High School Library, changed to recognize O’Donnell’s dedication to Everett.

Shepherd said the library was a marrying of two things Larry values the most which are learning and research.

On April 23rd the Everett Public Schools Board of Directors approved the name change proposal, brought forward by the PTA. They approved the change in recognition of O’Donnell’s “passion for Everett and the inspiration he has kindled in countless others.” “When Kelly announced at the auction the other night of this honor I had to say I was truly flabbergasted I had absolutely no idea,” O’Donnell said at Tuesday’s Board Meeting.

O’Donnell is an alumnus of the class of 1955 and is a well-known and beloved local historian and author. He has written several books including Everett School District- The First 100 Years. He was featured in The Seattle Times in 1992 for his work on the bookHe contributes his time at Old Jefferson Elementary (currently the post office) as the “eventual decision to become a teacher,” which he wrote in his retirement letter in April 1989.

In his 47-year-long career in Everett Public Schools, he has served as a teacher, counselor, dean, vice principal, and principal. He has worked with the Cascade High School, Port Gardner, Whittier, Emerson, Lowell, and Jefferson elementary schools. He finished his career as the district’s Director of Facilities and Planning.

During Tuesday’s meeting, he said the best thing his parents ever did, was move from Kansas to Everett, and he would tell them such frequently. “He is the sweetest, genuine, human being you will ever meet and he just loves the Everett community and education,” Shepherd said.

O’Donnell continues his lifelong interest in local history after retirement, writing or co-writing several books. He and his brother Jack are known to answer any historical question, without looking it up. Shepherd said that when she announced the plans for Larry’s recognition at the Everett High auction last Saturday, the room of 400 erupted in a standing ovation. This goes to show the impact that Larry has on the Everett community.

I’ve always been proud of the Everett school district and proud of my family,” O’Donnell said. His family makes up three generations of Everett High School alumni.  

A dedication ceremony will be held in the Everett High School library on June 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. with a short program at 6 p.m.