Fargo school board narrows names for Woodrow Wilson High School to 5 finalists

Starting from a list of 129 names, the Fargo Public School worked to select the best options with feedback from the community and students.

David Burkman, principal at Woodrow Wilson High School, speaks to the Fargo School Board about the name change on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Screenshot of Fargo Public School board meeting

FARGO — The Fargo Public School board narrowed the list to rename Woodrow Wilson High School down to five names Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The top picks are: Dakota High School in the top spot, then Central High School, Voyageur, Agnes Geelan and, finally, Valley High School.

Geelan, elected mayor of Enderlin, N.D., in 1946, was the first woman mayor of an incorporated city in North Dakota, and she was also North Dakota's first woman state senator, according to the University of North Dakota library website .

The names were picked from an original 129-name list the district received from community feedback. That list was narrowed down to 26 names last week, and the final name will be decided at the next board meeting on Dec. 8.

The final five names fall partly in line with what current students would like to see, according to David Burkman, principal at Woodrow Wilson High School. He collected insights from students who wanted a name that flows well and is easily understood.


Students also preferred to steer clear of historical or political figures and not to use the words alternative or academy in the new name, Burkman said.

“It’s an unsettling process that we are growing through, and there are a lot of positives as well,” he said.

Woodrow Wilson High School also never had a mascot, Burkman said, adding students have shown moderate to high interest in having one.

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