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Online survey testing the waters for proposed name change at South Middle School

South Middle School students hang out on the patio outside the school after early release on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. A topic currently being considered is the renaming of the school after a notable Native American figure with local roots.

Parents and community members have until Friday to participate in an online survey intended to gauge support for a possible name change at South Middle School.

Although the results won’t likely be released until later this fall, the South mother who spearheaded the campaign earlier this year said she’s optimistic about her proposal’s chances.

Carole Cadue-Blackwood, a member of the Kickapoo tribe, has led efforts to rename the school in honor of Lawrence’s Native American heritage.

“I want it to be a place of inspiration for everybody,” she said, especially Native American students, who have posted graduation rates well below the national average for several years now.

“The No. 1 reason kids drop out is because they feel nobody cares,” Cadue-Blackwood said. “ … It just comes down to self-esteem.”

She wants the district’s Native American students — including her two daughters, one a current South student and the other a Lawrence High School student — to know their community cares.

South has historically boasted one of the highest populations of Native American students in the Lawrence district, and was built on land given to the city, county and school district by the Bureau of Indian Affairs through Haskell Indian Nations University, then known as the Haskell Institute.

According to information prepared by Dan Wildcat and Mike Stewart of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center, Haskell has seen nearly 700 acres of its campus donated to various government entities since the 1950s.

Broken Arrow Elementary and Broken Arrow Park were built on the same land where South Middle School now stands. Cadue-Blackwood said renaming South in honor of the school’s connection to Haskell would mark a long-overdue recognition of local Native Americans’ struggles and contributions.

The campaign has generated several suggestions so far, mostly the names of Haskell alumni known for their athletic achievements.

“The name that keeps coming to the top is Billy Mills,” Cadue-Blackwood said of the celebrated Haskell alumnus, U.S. Marine veteran and 1964 Olympic gold medalist. “Any kid can look at that name and say, ‘Hey, that kid from Pine Ridge Reservation has made it — and I can, too.”

Cadue-Blackwood said the name change would allow South to keep its cougar mascot. She has also pledged that fundraising efforts would be undertaken to alleviate costs incurred by the potential renaming.

The results from the South community survey — as well as a separate survey for students — will be analyzed over the next week and shared at an upcoming school board meeting, South Principal Keith Jones said.

A link to the survey, along with a flyer about the proposed name change, can be accessed on the South Middle School homepage under “News and Daily Announcements.”

Comments

Clark Coan

I think it should be named after Pelathe, the Shawnee Indian who rode all night at breakneck speed from KC to Lawrence in an attempt to warn Lawrencians of Quantrill's impending attack.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Clara Westphal

I agree. Pelanthe tried to warn the people of Lawrence when he saw Quantrill and his gang approaching Lawrence. He was a real hero.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Bob Summers

I think it should be named Larry, the musician of the three stooges.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Jeanette Kekahbah

I don't think disrespecting the issues here whether you blatantly intended to do so or simply failed to recognize the inappropriateness of your comment is at all funny.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Bob Smith

Schooly McSchoolface.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Jeanette Kekahbah

White privilege not having to care, Bob, or is it a white supremacy thing where you refuse to?

1 month, 1 week ago

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Bob Smith

Google "joke" sometime.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Francis Hunt

"She has also pledged that fundraising efforts would be undertaken to alleviate costs incurred by the potential renaming."

I don't have a problem with a name change but these parents need to fundraise 100% and absorb the full burden of costs associated with a name change (signage, letterhead, forms, rubber stamps, uniforms, bank accounts, checks, everything!) and all the funds should be raised before any change. Did the on-line survey cost anything? If so, who paid for it? The school district shouldn't waste one single dollar for something that isn't a necessity. I hope this doesn't become another chance for USD497 to show their inability to prioritize spending.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Carol Bowen

How was the name “ Free State high school” decided?

1 month, 1 week ago

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Francis Hunt

Unsure. Why?

1 month, 1 week ago

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Carol Bowen

I recall a similar process for deciding on the name. Also, Central Junior high was renamed when it was changed to a middle school. USD 497 probably has cost figures. I am not sure why South would be treated differently other than folks are upset about costs and taxes in general.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Marilyn Hull

I think it is a fine idea and will support it financially.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Paul Beyer

Agree wtih Francis. The group needs to pay for all costs IN ADVANCE. No taxpayers funds should be involved.How many more schools will want change their names if taxpayers get ripped off for this one,

1 month, 1 week ago

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Brett McCabe

I don't know why, but I am constantly surprised by the smallness, pettiness and anger of some people.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Sam Crow

They should change the mascot. Maybe they could sell more school t-shirts and other school gear.

What self respecting mom in her 30s wants to walk around with a shirt that says "Cougar" on the front of it, or better yet, a bumper sticker that says the same.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Well, okay. That is really funny, unlike Bob's "jokes". Now I'll never be able to look at Cougar mascots anywhere ever again.

1 month, 1 week ago

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David Holroyd

And in 50 years it will be renamed again. Revisionist history at work by small thinking minds. Do the kids care ? Ask them!

Sooner than laater we will experience the naming of a high school NON BINARY HIGH...so that inclusiveness is fullfilled.

Just wonder if the Journal World dared to interview students as to who was Pelathe..if they would know..Now Boy Scouts would know but that group is gone bye bye.

1 month, 1 week ago

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