It's time, 'bye George

Friday, May 13, 2011

As we first proposed a few years ago, we still think the time is right for the Cherokee School District to consider changing the name of Cherokee Washington High School (WHS) to, simply and pleasantly, Cherokee High School (CHS).

That's what this community properly decided when we built the new Cherokee Middle School several years ago, even after several reputable names were bandied about as possible namesakes for the new junior high educational facility.

For too many years, many outsiders have derided the fact Cherokee mysteriously calls its lone high school "Washington High School," named after this nation's first, and possibly most beloved and admired President, George Washington.

Back in the day when the names of dead Presidents were the trendy thing to use for any and all public facilities, streets, highways and U.S. currency, such usage made us feel patriotic and really good about ourselves, while simultaneously paying homage to some of our great forefathers.

Through history, many larger cities with multiple high schools have invoked dead Presidents' names simply for identification (Des Moines Roosevelt, Des Moines Lincoln, Cedar Rapids Washington).

And even in Cherokee, that example was followed many years ago with the naming of the Lincoln, Webster, Garfield and Roosevelt elementary buildings, and the former Wilson High School (changed to Washington High after new school built).

But as history unfolds and the names of those so deserving either grow or dwindle in importance, depending upon one's perspective, it becomes readily apparent that we simply cut to the chase and say, "It is what it is."

Cherokee Middle School. Cherokee High School. Now, those names are hard to screw up, and right away, you know what and where they are.

The fact that we today remain Cherokee Washington High School also has long been a source of error and folly for groups like the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU), who debate each athletic season, season after season, if Our School should be listed in the Cs or in the Ws in the many and various publications.

Back in the day when this community also boasted of the proud traditions of Cherokee Immaculate Conception High School, the name Cherokee Washington High School served as a distinction between the two schools.

But, not any more.

Actually, to change a school's name, all the sitting school board would have to do is vote in favor of the change. Motion, second, all those in favor say, "Aye." Opposed? "Nay."

There's no need for a spendy budget, consultants, studies, committees, state or federal approval, or acheological digs.

Cherokee High School. How sweet the sound.