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Three Names Under Consideration for New School

Elementary School in North Central Bend to Open 2019

Article Date: Jan 15, 2019

Bend-La Pine Schools is opening a new 600-seat elementary school in north central Bend in fall of 2019. The school's naming committee, which includes local parents, staff and planning principal Kevin Gehrig, brought forward three potential names for consideration by the Bend-La Pine Schools Board of Directors: North Star Elementary School, Ruth Reid Elementary School and Florence Drake Elementary School.

The board is expected to make a decision on the name during its Feb. 12 meeting.

The naming committee outlined information about the overall naming process as well and details about the three name finalists.

Our Process

We initiated the process by creating a team of community members, school staff members and district staff. Our committee included Tasha McFarland, Kendall Erickson, Allison Harris, Erin Micken, Jen Salari, Amber Linn, Kevin Gehrig and Gary Timms.

We surveyed the community for elementary school name suggestions and received over 375 submissions. These suggestions included a wide variety of names, places and themes. We began to narrow the comprehensive list of recommendations by eliminating all duplicates, all names similar to current school names and all school names that already existed in the state of Oregon.

We then used the Bend-La Pine Schools facility naming policy to further narrow our list with a focus on identifying a name that reflects the values, vision, character and goals of our school district and community. This narrowed our list to roughly 30 names, including places, themes and people. Our team then used a ranking system to rank these names in order of significance for out team.

At this point we completed research for the top 6-8 names and reported back to the committee. Based on our research and further discussion we narrowed our list to three names for our newest elementary school.

We conducted additional research on these names, including consultation with Bend Historical Museum. After sharing the additional research and discussing the three possibilities our team unanimously agreed to move ahead with three names. Our team is excited to submit the following elementary school names to the Bend-La Pine School Board.

North Star Elementary School

The North Star is within the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper. It is the brightest star in the constellation and remains constant. The North Star is universally significant and would be an appropriate name for the northern most school in the Bend-La Pine School District.

Throughout history, it has been a reliable navigational tool for tribes, explorers and sailors. Slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad used it as a beacon for freedom. The Navajo Tribe found the North Star to be a source for stability, focus and tranquility. Some consider a person’s “true north” to be the internal compass that guides a successful life path. Peter H. Reynolds depicts this notion in his children’s book, “The North Star”.

Students of North Star Elementary will connect to the theme by being curious learners who seek, explore and reach for the stars. These bright minds will feel constant support from the school community throughout their elementary journey and beyond.

Ruth Reid Elementary School

In 1914 when the new Bend high school was built, the school board decided to name the school Reid School. The board felt that Reid’s distinguished accomplishments as an educator justified the naming of the school after her maiden name, Reid.

Ruth Reid moved to Bend, Oregon from New Brunswick, Canada in 1904 to begin teaching in Bend’s one room school house. In addition to her teaching job she wrote and taught curriculum for high school students in an afterschool program. Later, when the formal school opened, she was promoted to principal. “Ruth was popular with both her students and fellow teachers.” She was, “practically the pioneer teacher and builder of the Bend school system.” Although her teaching career was brief, Reid has many impactful achievements such as writing curriculum, founding Bend’s first high school, and becoming Bend’s first principal. Following her teaching career, she and her husband became leaders in society and community service. She was president of the woman’s club and was as popular and valuable as her husband H.J. Overturf.

Reid was a progressive educator that looked to improve the future of her students. Reid was part of the High School Movement of the early 20th century. In a time when 18% of students were going to high school, she brought high school to this budding town. This is a quality we want to see in our students and teachers and feel that she reflects this desirable trait. Reid was a visionary. She was an early proponent of the woman’s suffrage movement. When all eyes were watching Oregon’s first woman vote she was one of the first to cast her ballot in Bend.

Reid also had an adventurous spirit, yet another attribute we value and want to instill in our learners.

Florence Drake Elementary School

“Stop the Wagon!” cried Florence Drake. Alexander and his wife Florence were on their way from cold Minnesota to sunnier climates in search of a new life in a new region. The innovative legislation encouraged them to establish an irrigation district and resell land for homesteads. Florence was so persuasive the couple decided to stop here and camp along the banks of the Deschutes River. She fell in love with the beautiful surroundings and influenced her husband to stay and build their homestead on our very own Drake Park.

Florence Drake was an avid outdoorsman known for her charm, grace and love of children. This 1900s business woman was a trailblazer, partnering in her husband’s business endeavors. Her influence determined Bend’s location and shaped its development in the early years.

These intrepid founders of Bend established the Pilot Butte Development Company, platting and selling lots to construct Bend’s historical downtown. They built our first sawmill, power plant and water system. It was their influence that brought the railroads to Bend instead of farther east as originally planned. The irrigation districts they developed continue to provide Central Oregon with water 118 years later. Florence was known to give instructions to workmen, sign business documents and insist on street locations.

She died in 1933 but we will be ever grateful that she encouraged her husband to stop their investment journey here.