The Edmond Sun

January 15, 2014

Edmond School Board names new middle school Heartland

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Edmond School District board members voted unanimously for the name of the sixth middle school, even though the school plans have not yet been drawn.

The name chosen by the School Board members was Heartland Middle School and Executive Director of Secondary Education Debbie Bendick headed the school naming committee.

“I think the name chosen for the middle school shows the spirit of the people of Oklahoma,” said School Board President Jamie Underwood of the 5-0 vote.

Bret Towne told school board members the opening date for the middle school has been moved to 2016.

Heritage Elementary School, now under construction at Sorghum Mill between Broadway and Bryant Road, will now open in the fall of 2015.

“Edmond has pushed back the opening of the school (Heritage) by one year due to construction delays from inclement weather,” Towne told board members. He added opening two schools in one year would not be financially possible because money for staffing both schools in one year was not feasible.

As to the naming of the school, “School patrons were invited to submit potential names to be considered for Edmond’s sixth middle school,” Bendick said. “As in years past, the school names were to be representative of one or more of the following criteria: A natural event, feature, or features; memorials in honor of a deceased community leader, a deceased national or state leader, historical sites or events, geographical locations or a landmark significance.

Bendick said 63 different names were submitted for the committee’s consideration.

The other suggestions presented to board members included Red Earth Middle School and Sentinel Middle School.

“Heartland Middle School derives its significance from the term of endearment that has grown to represent all that is most loved about our state and its people,” Bendick said. “Here in the heart of this great nation, Oklahomans have demonstrated resiliency, charity and tenacity to rise as an example of all that is best in the human spirit. This name would provide a reminder to the school’s students of the standard of excellence their parents, teachers, community and state has set for them.”

Red Earth Middle School’s name had a dual significance, Bendick said.

“Red Earth is a reference to the natural feature of our state’s unique red clay and the influence of our rich Native American heritage,” Bendick said. “Of course, it would be a name shared with the annual summer festival of the same name, an event that features education as its mission, and one that has garnered warm affection and attention from citizens across the nation.”

Bendick told board members Sentinel Middle School would stand — as this name suggests — as a sentry at the edge of Edmond’s geographical boundaries, guarding its western most frontier.

“Sentinel would share the sense of its name with one of Oklahoma’s newest images, the sculpture atop the state capitol building, ‘The Guardian’ by Enoch Kelly Haney,” Bendick said. “In the case of both the school building and the statue, a mission of care, well-being, and purposefulness rings forth as a beacon of hope.”

 Other committee members included parents, administrators, principals and teachers. Members were: Cara Jernigan, Frontier Elementary; Brenda Lyons, retired EPSAC (Edmond Public Schools Admnistrative Center); Nick Massey, City Councilman for Ward 4; Pam Merrill, EPSAC social studies curriculum specialist; Sally Old Crow, Cheyenne Middle School; Desarae Witmer, Summit Middle School and Janet Hunteman, Frontier Elementary PTO president.