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Board members are open to local community input before they choose a name on March 9

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Board members are open to community input before they choose a name on March 9.

Will the new elementary adventure theme school be named Steins Pillar, Grizzly, Caldera, Ochoco or Frontier?

During the special Crook County School District board meeting Monday, Feb. 24, the five board members voiced their top choices for the name of the school that will open in September.

The name suggestions were submitted through a community survey, and we thank those who took time to offer suggestions for the school name, mascot and school colors. We are pleased that we received numerous appropriate suggestions.

The application period is open through March 29 for families to apply for their students to attend the school, which will serve up to 250 kindergarten through fourth grade students in the Pioneer South (First Street) building. The school curriculum will teach students using art, technology and adventure learning themes.

School board members will make the final decision on the school name, mascot and colors at the Monday, March 9 public school board meeting, which will be held at the District Office.

Several community members recommended Steins Pillar in honor of the 350-foot-tall stone pillar that is a remnant of an ancient volcano. Steins Pillar is located in the Mill Creek Wilderness to the east of Prineville in the Ochoco National Forest.

According to local historians, it is named after Major Enoch Steen, who explored the area in the 1860s. His name was misspelled so frequently that the misspelling stuck, which is why it is called Steins Pillar instead of Steens Pillar.

Grizzly was another top suggestion in the survey, no doubt referring to Grizzly Mountain located north of Prineville.

Historians say fur trappers in the area named the landmark Grizzly Mountain because of the color of the mountain – grizzle, which is a grayish-blue color. It's similar to the name of nearby Gray Butte in Jefferson County. There may also have been grizzly bears in that area back in those days, but historians have not verified that.

Caldera was another top choice among board members for the new school name. By definition, a caldera is a large volcanic crater, especially one formed by a major eruption leading to the collapse of the mouth of the volcano. Prineville sits at the heart of the Crooked River Caldera, which defines our local geology and our distinctive landscape.

Ochoco was another top name for the new theme school, and would honor the district's former Ochoco Elementary School as well as the neighboring Ochoco National Forest.

Frontier was another suggestion.

Webster's dictionary defines "frontier" in three ways: "The part of a country that borders another country; land that forms the farthest extent of a country's settled regions; or the limit of knowledge or achievement."

In this case, frontier could refer to a fresh start, a new movement and going forward. Opening this school is a whole new adventure for the school district.

Final mascot ideas include Pioneers, Bears, Cougars, Eagles and Explorers.

Board members will also decide on school colors and words such as school, academy or learning place as part of the school name.

We thank those of you who carefully considered and submitted suggestions through our survey. We value your input as we name this unique learning place.


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