News

Five names in running for new school

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

The Federal Way School Board has selected five possible names for a new middle school for the future students to pick from.

Board members expect to have a name chosen at their May 10 meeting.

Students were supposed to vote on the names this past week. They could select from:

• Sequoyah. Sequoyah developed the written language of the Cherokee Nation.

• Mayan. Mayans were a civilization in South America for thousands of years and developed higher mathematics, sciences and astronomy.

• Salish. Salish is a Native American tribe.

• Cameahwait. Cameahwait was Sacajawea's brother.

• Subiyay. Gerald Bruce "Subiyay" Miller, a Skokomish Native American, became known internationally for his knowledge and skills of his tribe's traditions and culture. He died earlier this year.

The board decided at an earlier meeting whatever name the students choose will be accepted.

Naming the middle school that's being built off South 336th Street has been an emotional subject for the last couple of months. Last Tuesday's meeting was no different, with the board voting 3-1 to send the names to students.

The debate over the name started in March when middle school student Kara Dameron asked the board to ignore Federal Way Public Schools policy and name the school for Patrick Maher, a slain Federal Way Police officer. The name of a former Puyallup Tribe chief, Bob Satiacum, was also offered by his supporters. Both were turned down along with the two original names the students voted on, Mesika and Klahanie. Mesika means "you, your or yours," and Klahanie is "out of doors." Both were nixed by the board because they didn't meet the district's policy for naming a middle school.

The policy is the name must be a person, place or event from Native American literature.

Controversy over naming a new school is not a new story in Federal Way, but this one is generating less media coverage than when the district named Todd Beamer High School. National news organizations covered the naming of the school after a victim of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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