Simple name appropriate for new school

Friday, October 14, 2005

When you look back over the history of school-naming in McCook, it becomes apparent that the community has a preference for what it calls educational buildings.

Throughout the town's history, with very few exceptions, McCook has chosen to be plain and simple, clear and to-the-point in the naming of schools. As evidence, you need look no further than the names that grace the town's existing public school institutions. There's no question where the schools are located, whether you're talking about McCook Community College, McCook High School, McCook Junior High, Central Elementary or the soon-to-be-closed East Ward Elementary.

The parochial school also gets straight to the point, using the church name, St. Patrick's, as the title for the school.

The historical perspective is important because the school system and the community are facing another school naming decision. The question is what to call the expanded elementary facility being constructed at the North Ward site.

The favorite, based on the unscientific online poll conducted by the McCook Daily Gazette, is McCook Elementary. However, there are plenty of other naming ideas. Among the suggestions by poll participants are North Ward Elementary, Frank B. Morrison Elementary, E. Benjamin Nelson Elementary, George W. Norris Elementary, Ralph G. Brooks Elementary, Heritage Elementary and Valentine Elementary (the former named of East Ward).

The difficulty of deviating from the McCook or Central-North-East-West naming strategy is selecting a specific person or purpose to honor. How do you pick from all the senators and governors from McCook? Norris, Morrison, Nelson and Brooks have all made significant contributions. How do we choose just one?

As townspeople showed in the successful battle to keep McCook a part of the community college title, a name does not have to be different to be precious.

The name McCook honors all the people of the town and area. It would, therefore, be an appropriate title for the new, expanded elementary school.

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