Committee mulls four names for new school

List narrowed down from 88 possibilities

Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The high school naming committee whittled a list of 88 possible names for the new Juneau high school down to four candidates on Monday.

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With nominations ranging from Quacking Duck High School to Mendenhall Valley High School, the seven-member committee pared the list to Thunder Mountain High School, Auke High School, Capital High School and Mount McGinnis High School.

The members of the naming committee will individually pick their favorite name. On Oct. 9, the committee will pick three of those names to send to the Juneau School District Board of Education on Oct. 17 for consideration. The board will decide the name.

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The front-runner for the new name is, so far, Thunder Mountain High School. The second-most popular name is Auke High School.

In the meeting, committee members chose two names and explained to the other committee members why they liked the names. The reasons given for the choices ranged from wanting to pay tribute to the area's Native population and history, to how the name would sound in a cheer.

Members of the committee said Thunder Mountain High School is a powerful name and will go well with both the school's colors - blue and silver, and the school's mascot - a falcon. The school is scheduled to open its doors in 2008.

The student representative on the committee, Lindsay Birk, 16, a junior at Juneau-Douglas High School, said students want the new school to have a strong name "that could accurately portray the student population."

The top two choices for names among students, she said, are Capital High School and Mount McGinnis High School. The students are set against Juneau Valley High School because, she said, "They didn't want (the new school) to be their twin sister."

Committee member Steve Morley, 32, a math and science teacher at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, recommended the names Auke High School and Capital High School.

"It just makes sense to me to give a nod to the people who lived here," Morley said, referring to Juneau's Native population.

Morley said he was impressed with the thoughtfulness committee members have shown in selecting names.

"It was interesting to hear people's reasons for going certain ways," he said. "I thought the reasons people gave for the names were compelling."

Morley said committee members were willing to listen to each other with open minds.

"It seems like everybody had a change of heart in some way ... which was refreshing," he said.



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