Extra Letters: West County High School changing name back to Analy
It’s only a name
EDITOR: I was disappointed when I read that the West County school board decided to give in to the complaining of local alumni and keep the Analy name for the high school.
As I walked around my neighborhood and saw the “Save Analy” signs, I thought, “Oh, are they going to bulldoze the building? Raze the school and build, say, a Trader Joe’s?” The signs should have read “Save the Name Analy.” That was all that was going to change. Same beautiful building, same grounds, same history, same curriculum, same sports, etc. It’s only a name.
Think what the community of Forestville is losing. I have no skin in this game, as we moved to Sebastopol 10 years ago, but I taught at Brook Haven school for over 18 years. During that time, we had to close Pinecrest School. It was hard on the district. It is never easy to close a school, and some Analy alumni made this closure so much harder by thinking a name was more important than anything else.
I was heartened earlier to read how students were working to come together. It seems in this case the children were acting like adults, but some vocal adults were acting like children.
United student body
EDITOR: Since the consolidation of Analy and El Molino high schools, we have had the pleasure of attending our granddaughter’s volleyball games at West County High’s gymnasium in Sebastopol. What we observed was a united student body composed of previous Analy and El Molino students enthusiastically joined in the support of their school. We join them in their cheer: “Let’s go West Co!”
GARY and SUZANNE NELSON
EDITOR: I sympathize with the former El Molino High School students (“Students protest name reversal with walkout,” Dec. 3). A new name would have been a bridge combining the former El Mo students into the Analy campus.
I attended El Mo from 1965 to ’69 and was a member of the first El Mo class to attend the then-new school for all four years of my high school education. El Molino was built for the overflow of students who were housed in trailers on the Analy campus.
While I attended El Mo, the student count was always around 400 — about what it was last year when the schools were combined. How is it that Analy now has the room to house approximately the same number of students that it couldn’t accommodate 56 years ago?
Is it good management of the scarce funds of the school district to use the El Mo campus for administrative offices and continuation school students?
The former El Mo students have tried their best to be cooperative in this disruptive change, and the new West County High School name helped in this process. Now they can’t even have that small concession to take the sting out of this disruptive change.
EDWARD F. GOWEN
Analy name’s history
EDITOR: Analy High School has been here 130 years. The students protesting will be gone in three years (“Students protest name reversal with walkout,” Dec. 3).
Analy is a name with meaning to the history of Sebastopol. Jasper O’Farrell descended from “lords of Annaly” in Ireland. He came from Ireland and surveyed land for the government, received a land grant in the area of Sebastopol, Bodega and Forestville and held office in the new state of California. He built St. Teresa Church. He named his ranch “Annaly.” The township of Sebastopol and Forestville was named Analy.
West county is not a name, it is an apology. I hope the students can get over themselves and embrace the origin of Sebastopol as the centuries-old name Analy and its significance to the beautiful place we live and where they are so lucky to be going to school.
Protest isn’t the way to get anything you want, whether it is another serving of ice cream or the name of the school where you will be for four years. The world and history are bigger than you. Students, do what is best for your school and community.
Set an example
EDITOR: Your article about West County High School students walking out of class compels a response. I’m not connected to either side of the dispute, but as a caring human being I offer the following reflection.
None of us likes losing something precious and familiar, “familiar” having the same root as “family,” something that is a part of oneself whether it’s one’s country, people, culture, language or school.
I understand the distress of the El Molino students who have lost something precious to them through no fault of their own. And I commend the helpful attitude of the former Analy students who are trying to include their El Molino classmates. Why don’t the adults do the same and model inclusion, recognition, acknowledgment of perhaps a very painful loss for many of these youngsters.
Names are hugely important. Why not choose a name that both sets of students can feel included in and be proud of. How about “Analino” — which carries the combined names of both schools. Or ask the students to come up with an inclusive name for their school.
Life is hard enough for young people these days. Why not listen to them and model the inclusion and hospitality we all need.
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