Rochester Public Schools has narrowed down the list of names it's considering for its new elementary school in Northwest Rochester, and it wants the community's input.
The district opened the process up to the public to find its initial batch of possible names. Residents submitted their suggestions from Oct. 19-Nov. 1. A group from the district took those various suggestions and narrowed them down to a list of five.
The district is now asking the public to weigh in on the process, once again, asking people to rank the five finalists. They are able to do so from Nov. 16-29. The Rochester School Board will take the top two names recommended by the community and select one of them in December.
To vote, go to www.rochesterschools.org.
The five finalists include:
Henry Plummer Elementary School: Plummer was a physician and engineer "who made revolutionary medical and engineering innovations right here in Rochester," the district wrote in its description of the name. Plummer "exemplifies life-long learning and achievement for the betterment of his local community and the world."
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School: King was an iconic civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968. Among other accomplishments, he's famous for his "I have a dream" speech, which spoke of the need for racial equality. "During this time of the BLM movement and separation in our country, naming this school after Martin Luther King Jr. would be a symbol of hope," the district wrote.
Overland Elementary School: "Overland Drive is the name of the roadway that connects the community to this school," the district wrote.
Sarah Burger Stearns Elementary School: According to the Minnesota Historical Society, Stearns "founded one of Minnesota’s first suffrage organizations, the Rochester Woman Suffrage Association, in her home city of Rochester." Originally from New York, Stearns moved to Minnesota with her husband following the Civil War. She was elected in 1881 as the first president of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association.
Wóksape Elementary School: "This is the Dakota word for 'wisdom.' This would be a way to honor the Indigenous people of this area. Both the Dakota and RPS value gaining wisdom through education and experience," the district wrote.