Naming New Schools | VideoRetha Colclasure | 1/3/2013
Sgt. Steven Kenner served Bismarck in a lot of ways. The 32 year veteran of the police department was shot and killed in the line of duty in July 2011. Now, those who worked with him want to see his legacy preserved in a very permanent way.
There are many small mementos of Sgt. Steve Kenner around Bismarck: a bracelet here, a decal there, even a memorial tree on the County Courthouse lawn after Kenner became the first Bismarck police officer to die in the line of duty.
"Steve was such a good guy. He was one of the best you`re ever gonna meet," said Det. Dustin Miller with the Bismarck Police Department.
That`s why Miller created a Facebook page to promote naming one of the new schools after Kenner, after talking with coworkers and learning about the opportunity to suggest names for the buildings. "You want to see something good for someone that`s willing to do that for the city. You`d like to see them honored and remembered in any way that they can."
He`s had a lot of people agree. He expected to have 100, maybe 200 people like the Facebook page. Instead, it`s pushing 600.
"It`s really an honor for anyone to ask the school district to name a building after a certain person. It`s a sign of respect for the school district and a deep sign of respect for that person," said Bismarck Schools Superintendent Tamara Uselman.
The problem is that multiple names have been suggested, she says, for multiple people who have served the city, state and nation. Uselman says one of the new schools had about 25 different people suggested as names and several other suggestions for names that aren`t after a person. "One of the difficulties in selecting a person is you don`t get to select, for this example, 25 people, you don`t get to select 24 of them."
She says no matter what the name is, she says it will be a name the district can endorse wholeheartedly.
The name suggestions are just that, suggestions. It`s not a voting contest. Uselman says a transition team will select several names for each school and give them to the board for consideration. The district does have several schools that have been named after people, for example, Dorothy Moses and Jeanette Mhyre Elementary Schools. Uselman says they`ve also named parts of buildings, like a gymnasium, after people.