The Soldotna Area Schools Advisory Committee met for the second time Tuesday to discuss topics such as school names, colors and mascots.
After a brief presentation of a sample proposal, with pros and cons, Doug Hayman, Transition Facilitator for the committee, encouraged the advisory committee to split into three small groups and produce their own proposals, with defined pros and cons during the meeting.
Kelci Benson, Soldotna student body president, presented for her committee’s group which brainstormed ideas and came to a consensus. The group proposed that the current Skyview High School be renamed Skyview Middle School, leaving the mascot as the Panthers and changing colors to purple, Carolina blue and white.
SMS, which will house the ninth grade, would be renamed Soldotna Prep, taking the Stars as a mascot and keeping with the same color palette. They discussed renaming the current Soldotna High School to Soldotna Unified High School. The mascot and all three schools would have the same colors.
“It really shows that we are coming together as a community,” Benson said.
She said the pros were that there was a change, everyone in the community would give and take and the cost would stay low. She said the only con for the idea would be the need for new uniforms.
“It would have the least emotional impact on the students,” she said.
SoHi math teacher Troy Minogue’s group came up with two ideas, Skyview Middle School Panthers; keeping Soldotna High School as the SoHi Stars, and Soldotna Prep Stars.
The idea preserves the names of the schools, saves money but does not really recognize the merger, he said.
Another proposal was for a Skyview Middle School, with a mascot of Panthers; changing SoHi to Soldotna Central High School, keeping Stars as mascot and merging the colors, blue and black.
“It does maintain the heritage,” he said.
The ninth-grade house name ideas were South Central 9 or Central 9, but the group decided at the last minute they preferred Prep in the name better.
The 14-person committee made up of students, staff and site council members met in the Soldotna Middle School library to discuss cultural and historic issues involved in the upcoming Soldotna Schools Reconfiguration. Community members were also in attendance, but were asked to not comment. Instead they were asked to email questions to Hayman for future discussion.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District approved the reconfiguration of Soldotna area schools last spring. The reconfiguration includes:
■ Soldotna area grades 10-12 located at the current Soldotna High School campus.
■ Soldotna area ninth-grade, and River City Academy, housed at the current Soldotna Middle School.
■ Soldotna area seventh- and eighth-grade students located at the current Skyview High School.
Hayman researched two main questions the committee posed at the Sept. 10 meeting. In regard to the ninth-grade house and what it needs to follow the state and district requirement, in an email, he explained that the school must have its own name that is easily distinguished from other schools.
“The district would request it does not have the word ‘Soldotna’ in it,” according to an email.
Other requirements include the school having its own student council. Students will be eligible for all sports and clubs in 9-12 continuum, ninth-grade may have its own clubs for ninth-grade only, as well as electives that are site, staff and interest dependent. Class offerings are staff dependent and not a part of the current advisory committee scope.
Hayman said the first agenda item for the next meeting will be sharing the remaining group’s ideas and then discussing where both schools’ historic artifacts will be housed.
The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Soldotna Middle School library.
Sara J. Hardan can be reached at email@example.com.