School name committee pares down possibilities

Board to decide between 'Thunder Mountain' or 'Capital' for high school

Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The naming committee for Juneau's new high school settled Monday on two possibilities for the building, Thunder Mountain High School and Capital High School.

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The names will be forwarded to the superintendent of the Juneau School District, who will present the names Oct. 24 to the Juneau School Board. The naming committee will explain its choice, and the board will decide on the school's name Nov. 7.

The naming committee rejected two other finalists: Auke High School and Mount McGinnis High School.

The board chose Thunder Mountain High School overwhelmingly with a vote of 6 to 1. The only dissenting vote came from Lindsay Birk, 16, the student representative on the committee. Birk, a junior at Juneau-Douglas High School, said students prefer Capital High School over other possible names.

"They think (Capital High School) sounded more regal and hopeful," she said. When asked by a fellow committee member how many students she polled, Birk responded that her survey represented "a pretty good example of the student body."

School Board member Mary Becker agreed with the majority of the committee that Thunder Mountain High was the strongest name.

"The name is really good for cheers. I can hear the kids stomping their feet right now," Becker said. "The name of the school makes the team sound strong. I think it's a strong name and a great choice."

Steve Morley, 32, a math and science teacher at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, said people didn't seem interested in other names.

"Most people I talked to, especially older ones, were against Capital High School," Morley said. "Mount McGinnis didn't make any sense and not many folks liked Auke."

Last week, board members were instructed to go home and decide which of the four finalists they liked best. Those names were decided out of an original pool of 88 names submitted by community members.

The school's colors - blue and silver, and the school's mascot - a falcon, already have been chosen. The school is under construction now and is scheduled to open its doors in 2008.

Charla Wright, assistant superintendent for the Juneau School District and naming committee facilitator, said the naming process has worked well.

"I feel confident there was a lot of dialog and thought put into all the names selected by the community," Wright said. "I think the two names (the committee) provided are really great names."

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