Former Jr. High Now Sanford Pride Elementary School

At their March 1 meeting, members of the Sanford School Committee voted unanimously to rechristen the former Junior High School with the name Sanford Pride Elementary School.

Committee Chair Don Jamison commended the Naming Committee on their work surveying the community and pulling together the various suggested names. The Naming Committee included School Committee members Amy Sevigny and Paula Cote, City Councilors Ayn Hanselmann and Robert Stackpole, former School Committee member Kendra Williams, and Sanford High School history teacher Paul Auger.

Ms. Hanselmann shared how her personal perspective on the name shifted during the process. Although she said there were several amazing people to potentially name the school after, she came to understand that choosing a particular person would only engage or excite the portion of the community who remembered that person. She said choosing the name of a place or thing would give the entire community a permanent connection to the school.

Mr. Jamison agreed with Ms. Hanselmann’s comments, and suggested rooms and other spaces in the new school be dedicated to deserving individuals.

Bob Maurais, whose sister Margaret’s name was one of the ones under consideration, thanked the Committee and Superintendent of Schools Matt Nelson for undertaking what he called the uplifting and transparent process of selecting the name.

School Committee member John Roux advocated strongly for having Sanford be part of the name, saying that it was important to retain the community’s identity. Committee member Jonathan Mapes agreed. He said his father’s name being brought forward put him in an awkward spot, but that he agreed with Mr. Jamison that naming spaces within the school was a more appropriate way to honor individuals.

Mr. Mapes added that the new school would end up with a nickname (for example, Carl J. Lamb School is usually referred to as CJL) and that should be taken into consideration.

Mr. Jamison said we already have Sanford High School and Sanford Middle School, but the new school couldn’t be called Sanford Elementary School because there are other elementary schools in the city.

Ms. Cote said that, like Ms. Hanselmann, her thinking on the name had evolved, and she supported the suggestion of Spartan Pride or Pride Elementary. Ms. Sevigny said the process has changed her mind about naming the school after a person as well. She agreed Sanford Pride or Spartan Pride were the best choices, and the nickname could just be Pride.

After some discussion about whether the School Committee should just choose the name, or send it back to the Naming Committee, Mr. Mapes motioned to name the school Sanford Pride Elementary. Mr. Roux seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

Superintendent Nelson said it was an appropriate name, as all the people whose names were nominated had one thing in common, which was tremendous pride for the city of Sanford.

The full School Committee meeting can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXJoSM_sNlQ.

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