Students and staff members at Cale Elementary want their school to be named Mountain View, according to voting results unveiled Tuesday night.
That option received 50.4% of their votes, Cale librarian Anna Balazs said at a community meeting held to hear public input on six potential names for the school. A little more than 700 students and 100 staff members voted in the school election. Those who did vote received “I Voted” stickers.
Elina Adekunle, a kindergartner at Cale, said she preferred Mountain View.
“Because I can see the mountains.” she said at the meeting.
Elina added later that she can see the mountains from the playground. The Carter Mountain Range lies to the east of the school.
Other potential names for Cale include Avon, Southside, Avon Ridge, Biscuit Run and Mill Creek. An 11-person advisory committee selected those names at a meeting last month and will make its final recommendation next month.
The second option among students and staff was Southside, which received 13.7% of the votes.
All of the finalists reflect the school’s geographic location of Avon Street Extended. Other speakers at Tuesday’s meeting encouraged the committee to select a name inclusive of the school’s community.
“One that’s inclusive to represent students from throughout the attendance zone,” said Matt Salerno, a parent of a Cale student.
Cale’s attendance district spans south of Interstate 64 along Scottsville Road to Red Hill Road as well as around Old Lynchburg Road.
The school is named for former county schools Superintendent Paul H. Cale. He oversaw the division from 1947 to 1969 and died in 1987.
The advisory committee spent months reviewing his tenure and legacy before recommending in September that the school’s name should change. Their review was sparked by the discovery of a 1956 magazine article in which Cale made comments critical of integration; however, Cale’s family and supporters have contended that the comments were paraphrased and not reflective of his beliefs.
Ultimately, schools Superintendent Matt Haas and the School Board decided to change the moniker because of the pace of integration and the broader climate in the county schools during Cale’s tenure. The county schools first integrated in 1963 — nine years after the Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional.
Haas has said the name change should cost less than $6,000.
Jeannie Ballard, a fourth-grade teacher at Cale, said the school’s new name was personal to her classroom. She has discussed the six options with her class and had students journal about their preferences.
She read some excerpts from their writings at the meeting but didn’t name the authors. Many preferred Mountain View, she said.
“Mountain View represents all of us, not just one of us,” a student wrote.
Another wrote that the name “represents us as students because we all reach for the top.”
With Biscuit Run, she said her students were worried about a mascot of a biscuit running up a mountain.
Another didn’t like Mill Creek.
“Because I don’t like creeks,” the student wrote.
Ballard said she appreciated the chance for students to weigh in.
“It gave students a feeling that their voice matters,” she said.