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Opening Arguments

The name game

A lesson learned by the Muncie school board -- don't ask for suggestions if you're just going to ignore all of them. The board got 90 potential names when it asked the public to come up with one for its newest school:

But ultimately board members ignored those ideas and named the facility the Muncie Community Schools High Performance Academy.

The board has heard plenty of complaints since picking the new name. Some thought the name was too long, and others thought it hinted that other schools were inferior.

So now the board is starting over, and school officials, parents and students will choose the final name from all those submitted. This may be a case where too much is being made of a name, although Muncie Community Schools High Performance Academy is quite a mouthful, which people might have a tendency to shorten to Hi-Per, which would give students an unfortunate reputation.

Whatever people intend with names, institutions tend to get a reputation, and those who are members have a certain feeling about them, and those reputations and feelings start defining the name. When I went to Central High School, we thought we were the best school in town, and everybody else thought we were a bunch of poor and probably dangerous kids. And what was "Central"? Just a direction. There are porbably thousands of Central schools throughout this country. The one school I went to that tried to make the name have special meaning was Ball State University, named after the Ball brothers of canning jar fame, and the "Ball U" T-shirts have certainly not added to the family's reputation.

Posted in: Hoosier lore