It’s time, ‘bye George

Monday, May 14, 2018

As we first proposed a few years ago, we still think the time is right for the Cherokee School District to change 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 18 years ago, even after several reputable names were bandied about as possible namesakes for the new junior high educational facility. And with a new elementary school planned, along with renovations at the high school, the time is right. Right?

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 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 the new school was built).

But as history unfolds and the names of those so deserving either grow or dwindle in importance, 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.

And while we’re at it, now’s the time to shed Roosevelt Elementary School and make it Cherokee Elementary School. There is but one, after all.

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 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 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.

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.” Whammo. Problem solved.

There’s no need for a spendy budget, consultants, studies, committees, administrative bias, state or federal approval, or archaeological digs.

Cherokee High School. How sweet the sound.