BOZEMAN - As progress continues on a second high school in Bozeman, administrators need help locking down an identity for the new school. Now, they’re asking the public to help them pick a name.
To keep up with Bozeman’s booming population, the city will have a second high school open by 2020. Half of the student population will stay at Bozeman High, and half will roam the halls of a school yet to be named. And coming up with a name is a little harder than you might think.
"Lewis and Clark would be my first thought,” said Bozeman resident Mariah Rich, “but everything out here's Lewis and Clark or Sacajawea.”
“Or Bridger High School… Bridger Peaks High School,” friend Autumn Rose added.
“Everything that we’ve thought of has been overused,” Rich said, laughing.
A transition committee is in place to assist with decisions made for the new school, including everything from curriculum to school colors.
While many ideas are floating around, some say it’s best to be straightforward with the name.
As Head of Youth Services at Bozeman Public Library, Cindy Christin has already put some thought into the name. “We did talk about it the other day with friends,” she said, “and I sort of think that going real simple with Bozeman High for one school and Bozeman West for the other makes sense to me.”
Luke Terry, Student Representative for the High School Transition Committee agrees that Bozeman West is the best option.
“’Cause it’s west of everything,” he said.
Bozeman resident Lisa Giroux suggested Gallatin High School: “They used the town, why not the county?”
Meanwhile, others were a little more creative with their suggestions.
“Saddle Peak High School. Because it’s a known landmark in the area and it’s a cool name,” said Tyler Rutz, referring to the famed Bridger Range mountain.
“Teddy Roosevelt High could be cool since he did a lot for the National Parks,” said Kory Landwehr.
“I was gonna say, Obama needs a high school named after him,” Rich said as Rose laughed. “I mean the first Barack Obama High School, that would be fantastic.”
And still others remain haunted by naming mistakes of the past.
Anthony Parks and friend Jordi Jerome recalled the infamous incident from 2016, when a #NameOurShip poll from a British government agency was taken over by a wave of internet fans wanting to name the $287 million polar research ship “Boaty McBoatface” (that name eventually won, though it was later reassigned to a much smaller, autonomous vehicle within the agency’s fleet).
School officials have laid out some ground rules for the new high school name.
First, it must be related to someone with widespread attention, or made a significant contribution to the area. If named after a person, it must be someone who has been dead for at least five years. If the school is named after a landmark, it must be significant to Bozeman residents or exemplify local geography. Finally, the name can’t be too similar to nearby high schools.
After all of the name suggestions have been submitted, the transition committee will cut the list down, finally submitting 3-5 options to the Bozeman Public School Board. The final name will need to be approved by the board before it is official. The board is anticipated to make a decision on the name by late Feburary.
If you have an idea of what the new high school should be named, you can submit a suggestion before February 15th on the school district’s website.
Correction (2/4/19): A previous version of this article stated that the public would be able to vote on the new school name, starting May 3. However, it is the board that will approve the final decision on the name. The article has been updated to reflect this change.