Naming Committee Update
The Elkhart community is making great strides in the process of unifying Memorial and Central High School. The naming committee has been hard at work for months, figuring methods and potential choices for school name, colors, mascot, and mascot nickname.
Beginning in November of 2017, several meetings were held to determine the process in which votes would be configured and cast, going so far as to speak with other Indiana High School administrators such as Goshen High School, who recently changed their mascot, and Muncie Central who underwent a merge between Muncie Central and Muncie Southside High School. The final decision was to ask for community input, identify choices for a ballot, and then ask students to vote.
The committee has made every possible effort to remain transparent and accountable to the public, and is made up of a variety of members including students, community members, and former coaches.
Elkhart Central Social Studies teacher and Elkhart Memorial graduate, Carrie Drews serves as the secretary of the committee. Invited by Dr. Haworth because of her experience with both high schools, she said takes on the role with enthusiasm because of her previous experience in the role of secretary, but also as a nostalgic opportunity, as in her own Middle School years at West Side she was able to vote for the Elkhart Memorial colors and fight song.
“There were more than 800 submissions from the Elkhart community and most were a genuine effort to combine the colors and traditions of the three high schools (Elkhart High School, Elkhart Central, and Elkhart Memorial),” said Drews. “There were several choices mentioned by a number of people, so these were given very strong consideration for inclusion on the student ballot. Taken as a whole, we had about two-thirds of the responders favoring the continued use of our traditional names, colors, and mascot. We also had a strong one-third or so asking for something new, “fresh”, and a choice not identified with either of the present high schools.”
In terms of the voting process, students in grades five through twelve will have one vote each, and classrooms grades kindergarten through four may have one classroom vote should they choose to participate.
Though seemingly premature, the process has begun in order to begin organizing purchasing decisions that will be made within the next few years and knowing future school colors should be helpful in making such decisions.
“I can assure you that no decisions have been made at this point, other than to narrow the choices for a student vote,” said Drews. “We are in the process of determining ballot choices now. We have identified color and high school name choices, and are working on mascot and mascot nickname choices. I believe there are good choices in all categories, and that the final result—to be chosen by a student vote in May and presented to the school board in June—will be pleasing both to those who want some of the history maintained as well as those who feel students will be more excited about something new.”