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West Fargo School Board names new elementary school

Meadowlark Elementary School rose to the top of the list; other proposed names included Rocking Horse Elementary School and Veterans Elementary School.

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An artist's rendering of what will be the West Fargo School District's newest school in the Rocking Horse Farm neighborhood.
Special to the Pioneer
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WEST FARGO — The name of West Fargo School District's newest elementary school will be known as Meadowlark Elementary School.

The West Fargo School Board approved the name with a five to two vote at its Monday, April 25 meeting. School Board members Jon Erickson and Dan Schaeffer voted against the name for what will be the district's 15th elementary school.

After the West Fargo School Board's April 11 meeting, the choices for a name were narrowed down to three names: Meadowlark, Rocking Horse Elementary School or Veterans Elementary School.

Board members then ranked the three choices and Meadowlark Elementary School was ranked as first choice followed by Rocking Horse Elementary School and last was Veterans Elementary School.

The meadowlark is the state bird of North Dakota. The school will be built in the Rocking Horse Farm development of Fargo. While the school will be built near Veterans Boulevard, it will have an address of 51st Avenue.

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"Your mascot would have to be the rocking horse if we leaned toward this," Board member Patti Stedman said. "I favored Meadowlark all along. Veterans I think has made the list in like the last five years."

After receiving 350 submissions from the public of possible names, the board ranked its top choices and a list of seven potential names was discussed at Monday's meeting. Along with the final name choices, the public suggested Dakota Elementary School, Frontier Elementary School, Heartland Elementary School and Prairie Rose Elementary School.

"I voted for Veterans as a first choice, but I'm fine with any name because it's going to be a great school," Board President Jim Jonas said.

The board has named some of its elementary schools after the neighborhood or development where it has been located such as Deer Creek Elementary or Willow Park Elementary School.

Erickson said while Rocking Horse was not his preference, the district received a total of 68 submissions for the name from the public. He also noted Rocking Horse would compliment the Sheyenne High School Mustangs.

"I chose Rocking Horse as my top," said Board Member Jessica Jackson. "It really comes down to how it fits with what we've done as a district."

While Board member Mark Staples didn't mind the location-based names, he wasn't keen on Rocking Horse Elementary School, noting it represents a young child's toy, and that Rocking Horse Farm Elementary School would get fairly lengthy if the board attempted to name the school directly after the development.

District Spokeswoman Heather Leas pointed out the numerous facilities in the metro area that are named using the word, veterans such as the VFW, the Veterans Hospital, the Veterans Memorial, etc.

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She said no other cities have a school named meadowlark.

Of the nearly 350 submissions, names ranged from abstract terms such as Justice (a former contender in the name race for previous West Fargo elementary schools) to names that honor individuals.

The suggestions included individuals with clear ties to West Fargo, Fargo or North Dakota such as former West Fargo Superintendent David Flowers, former principal Greg Grooters, the late Attorney General Wayne Stenjehem, Aarland Rassmussen, North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani, Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer, who was killed in the line of duty, and former Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker.

It also included some nationally known individuals such as the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Amelia Earhart, Theodore Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Ruby Bridges, Roger Maris, John F. Kennedy and Donald J. Trump, as well as Robert E. Lee, a confederate general famous for leading southern states during the U.S. Civil War.

Construction will begin this spring on the new school to be built in Fargo's Rocking Horse Farm neighborhood, west of Veterans Boulevard and north of 52nd Avenue South.

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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