Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Student vote to help name school

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Lakota Schools' fourth junior school should have a name by the end of the month.

Students who will be attending the school next year spent Tuesday voting on one of six names that were finalists after more than 100 submissions.

Fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade students at Lakota Ridge Junior, Cherokee Elementary and Shawnee Elementary chose from: Lakota Plains, Patriot, Justice, Unity, Allegiance or Lakota Valor.

Once votes are tallied by week's end, the committee of educators, students and parents will select its top choices, based on the students' choice, to submit to the Lakota Board of Education for approval at its Oct. 28 meeting, said Bruce Lewis, who will become the new school's principal.

"I felt it was a cool opportunity," said Elizabeth Van Vactor, 13, a Lakota Ridge seventh-grader on the committee with Taneka Chichester, a Shawnee sixth-grader, and Steven Armstrong, a Lakota Ridge seventh-grader. "It makes the kids feel like they're included. It's their school and they got to be part of (naming) it."

Mr. Lewis said the committee based its selection on suggestions that reflected Lakota's Native American ancestors, patriotism and those nominated most often.

"While we had a lot of fun, they (student committee members) took it seriously,'' Mr. Lewis said. "They felt it was important."

Both Steven and Elizabeth said they favored Lakota Plains, which was also nominated six years ago for the new high schools - which became Lakota East and West.

"Lakota Plains and Lakota Ridge are opposites - geographically," Steven explained. "The Lakota Indians lived on the plains. That's why I like it."

Now under construction on the former Van Gorden Farm at the northwest corner of LeSourdsville-West Chester and Princeton roads, the school is to open next year.

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