What’s in a name?

Pro­posed name change for St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate meets with re­sis­tance from alumni

The Beacon (Gander) - - Front page - BY CLARENCE NGOH

A pro­posal to change the name of St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate School in Gan­der came as a sur­prise to many.

A let­ter ad­dressed to par­ents, guardians and Gan­der com­mu­nity mem­bers was sent out Nov. 27, 2017 to in­form them that a re­newal com­mit­tee was es­tab­lished to ad­dress a name change for St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate.

For­mer stu­dents al­most missed the an­nounce­ment, which was spot­ted by chance on Face­book and shared.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the New­found­land and Labrador English School Dis­trict (NLESD), the rea­sons are to make the school’s name con­sis­tent with Gan­der’s three other schools, and to elim­i­nate con­fu­sion with other schools named St. Paul’s within the dis­trict.

“Stu­dents want the name of their school to iden­tify them as cit­i­zens of the Town of Gan­der,” the let­ter stated. “This will make their name con­sis­tent with the three other schools in Gan­der.”

In ad­di­tion to this com­mu­ni­ca­tion, an au­to­mated mes­sage was sent to all cur­rent stake­hold­ers of St. Paul’s ask­ing for their feed­back on a name change, ac­cord­ing to min­utes from a Nov. 6, 2017 school coun­cil meet­ing.

An email ad­dress was also set up to re­ceive feed­back, con­cerns and sug­ges­tions. An er­ror in the email ad­dress has been cor­rected.

The Face­book page for St. Paul’s High School Alumni

buzzed with ac­tiv­ity when this news reached so­cial me­dia.

Most of the posts on the “Alumni from St. Paul’s High School” page op­posed the name change. This feed­back was high­lighted on the group’s page as en­cour­age­ment for other alumni to write in.

For­mer stu­dent Paddy Pen­ney had strong words for the re­newal com­mit­tee when he ad­dressed the is­sue of hav­ing sev­eral schools named St. Paul’s within NLESD.

“This is a (false­hood), and down­right mis­lead­ing to any­body who has read or will read your let­ter,” he wrote. “There is only one other school in New­found­land with the moniker of St. Paul’s.”

For­mer stu­dent Peter Soucy wrote pas­sion­ately about the qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and life ex­pe­ri­ences he re­ceived from his alma mater, St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate.

“This is why so many of us carry such fond­ness for our school years in Gan­der,” Soucy wrote. “What’s in a name? A great deal, I would think. Es­pe­cially when it is syn­ony­mous with decades of su­pe­rior school achieve­ment and morale.

“And ‘St. Paul’s’ has stood for more than this. It re­flects the care­ful at­ten­tion to (the) de­vel­op­ment of the en­tire in­di­vid­ual – the eth­i­cal, com­pas­sion­ate, com­mu­nity-minded ci­ti­zen so vi­tal to the healthy func­tion­ing of any ro­bust and op­ti­mistic so­ci­ety.”

Pen­ney ex­pressed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments.

“I will cher­ish those years for the rest of my life,” he wrote. “To change a name that means the world to thou­sands of alumni, as well as hun­dreds of stu­dents who cur­rently at­tend is, in my mind, undis­cern­ing.”

The Bea­con reached out to the school coun­cil for com­ment but did not re­ceive a re­sponse as of pub­li­ca­tion.

The pro­posal to change the name of St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate is not fi­nal­ized. School alumni are sched­uled to meet with the school coun­cil on Jan. 15.

A sur­vey, both on­line and pa­per, will be sent out to Gan­der res­i­dents to get feed­back for the name change.

The email ad­dress to send feed­back to the re­newal com­mit­tee is stpauls­gan­der­school­coun­cil@gmail.com.

An on­line pe­ti­tion at http://tinyurl.com/ya­mubg68has been set up to stop the name change.

CLARENCE NGOH/THE BEA­CON

With over 60 years of his­tory be­hind its name, a pro­posal to re­name St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate has been put for­ward to pre­vent con­fu­sion within the school dis­trict, and in re­sponse to stu­dents who want a name that is con­sis­tent with other schools in Gan­der.

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