I love history and genealogies. In fact, I excelled in history in school.
History fascinates me because I enjoy learning where we, as a people, have come from and the events of the past. Just in the last few weeks, I finished reading a book on John F. Kennedy; about a month or two prior to that, I finished a book about Abraham Lincoln.
So it is with that in mind that I say this: The Jessamine County Board of Education’s decision to set aside a committee’s unanimous recommendation to name the new elementary school after an old schoolhouse from yesteryear was puzzling.
When I first heard the committee’s recommendation that the new school be named after the two-room Red Oak School that was in use until 1952, I found the name choice to be fascinating.
I agree with principal Andi McNeal, who said, “Tagging into the history of our county is a great way to create that for kids. I also love it because out of tiny acorns grow mighty oaks.”
Red Oak Elementary School helps connect the school system’s past with its present. I thought the choice was a no-brainer.
Then came Monday night’s talk of naming it East Jessamine Elementary or East Oak.
It is my understanding the school board charged a committee — made up of 12 people from varying backgrounds — to offer a name. The committee was made up of educators, community leaders and parents of children who will attend the school.
I spoke to circuit clerk Doug Fain, who served on the committee, early Tuesday afternoon. When I mentioned the school board’s decision, he simply shook his head in disgust at the board’s decision.
I chuckled when I read the comments of school-board chair Eugene Peel and vice chair Amy Day when they argued that the school was already known as “East Jessamine Elementary.” My first thought was, “If that’s the case, why convene a committee in the first place? You wasted the time of 12 people, who I’m sure could have been doing something else with their time.”
Moreover, when my wife Anne was pregnant with our daughter, we called her “the little alien,” in a loving sort of way. But, when we learned our baby was going to be a girl, we started calling her Rebecca.
Still, it appears that the school board wants the committee to resubmit suggestions regarding the name of the new school.
I don’t serve on that committee, but if I did, I would simply go back before the school board with this message — Red Oak is our recommendation. If you don’t like it, vote it down, name it whatever you want to name it, and quit wasting our time.