New school signage honors old and new
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 6:12 AM
Bringing in the new, while honoring the old.
That's how the Decorah School Board has decided to approach the issue of naming the District's High School.
Although the school's official name has been Thomas R. Roberts High School since it was built in 1955, unofficially, it has been called Decorah High School.
At Monday's meeting, the Board voted to change the school's official name to Decorah High School, but continue to honor former Superintendent Thomas R. Roberts by naming the actual building after him.
The Board's decision came following a conversation with Roberts' last living relative, his daughter, Lucille.
Superintendent Mike Haluska, Board President Melanie Tietz, and Board Vice President Ron Fadness visited via phone with Roberts, now 88, who lives in Arkansas.
"It was a great conversation. She had been following us in the Decorah Newspaper and was expecting a call. It was great," said Fadness.
Tietz added that Roberts was appreciative that the Board would consider retaining her father's name in some way.
"She gave us a little history lesson about her father and their family. How they came here. And how he gave up his raise the first year because the teachers weren't given one during The Depression. He sounds like an interesting man who had an interesting life. And he very much wanted to move education forward in Decorah," said Tietz.
"The cornerstone with Roberts' name on it is still inside the front entrance and she was delighted to hear that. There is also a plaque the family had paid for as a memorial to their father."
Both Tietz and Board Member John Hjelle said they both had received comments about preserving the name.
Fadness said after the conversation with Lucille Roberts, he felt the Board would be following her wishes if they went with the name "Decorah High School," with the subtext, "Thomas R. Roberts Building."
Further discussion was had with High School Principal Kim Sheppard, regarding changing the name on the diplomas.
Sheppard said she would check to see if the diplomas could be changed for the class of 2013.
"I'll have to see if we can do this at this date, and I believe that is another expense to redo all of that," said Sheppard.
"You might want to consider a new photograph (of the new building) as well."
Haluska said the proper time to change everything would be once the project is completed.
"Then you can have a picture that can sit on the cover of the insignia and everything can go forth from there," said Haluska.