Above: Morinville Public School students, Summer Lebsack, Kingston Whitenect, and Blake Whitenect, all entered their choice of name for the forthcoming Sturgeon School Division Junior High School. The kids, pictured here with MPS Principal, Wayne Rufiange, entered their ballot in person at their school; however, ballots can also be submitted online.
by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
Sturgeon School Division (SSD) is holding a contest to help decide the name of the forthcoming public junior high school in Morinville. The school, which is currently in its design phase, is anticipated to be completed approximately two years after those designs are finalized.
“To the best of my knowledge we have not used this method [to pick a name for a school] before,” said Dr. Michele Dick, SSD Superintendent, in an interview. “In the recent past, I believe it has been the local Trustee who put forward a suggested name, and the Board of Trustees provided final approval.”
Dick remarked she’d consider this initiative a success if the name that is ultimately chosen were one recommended by the school community. Achieving the support of parents, students, teachers and staff, and community members is the primary goal, she said.
Misty Featherley, the SSD Trustee for Morinville, said she believes the successful name could showcase some of the innovative features of the new school, since, “it will be a 21st-century learning space with dance and sports academies, as well as open and flexible spaces.” The school, which will range from grades five to nine, will also feature solar panels, outdoor classrooms, and high-level CTS [career and technology studies] courses.
Though she wasn’t sure how many names had been submitted by community members to date, Featherley said she is hoping to see a lot of submissions. “I told my own kids if they want to put a name forward, not to tell me [what they picked]. We will not know who has submitted school names until we pick the winner so that we can be confident there are no biases.”
The deadline to submit a name for the school is April 12, and anyone and everyone is welcome to participate.
A selection committee, made up primarily of school council members and administration, will make the final decision on the name to put forward to the Board of Trustees, according to Dick. If no consensus can be reached on the name, the Superintendent suspects SSD will resort back to their old way for selection.
Entries can be submitted at Morinville Public School or online via the SSD website. The entry form requests the suggested name and why the entrant believes it to be worthy.
A shortlist of potential names will first be announced, and then a final name and winner will be made public by May 24.
Currently, the only public school in Morinville is called Morinville Public School. Whether that name will change once the new school is built isn’t immediately clear.
“I have not heard the Board make any mention of re-naming MPS, the name of which was brought forward by the local Trustee (after a conversation with the School Council) and approved by the full Board,” explained Dick.