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New SE Bend high school’s name chosen: Caldera

New SE Bend high school March 2020
Bend-La Pine Schools
New high school under construction in SE Bend is slated to open in the fall of 2021

Despite some Bend residents' desire to name it for Robert Maxwell

(Update: Adding video, comments from meeting)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend-La Pine Schools’ newest high school in southeast Bend will be named Caldera High School, as selected unanimously by the Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors at Tuesday tonight’s board meeting.

The name was the top-ranked of three options recommended by an advisory committee and considered by the board for the new high school, slated to open in the fall of 2021. The others were Woodlands and Vista.

“Naming this new school is an important step as we continue to build the school’s identity and culture,” said Chris Boyd, principal for the new school. “Our school will become a hub for the southeast Bend community and will be a welcoming place for each student.” 

Caldera is a reference to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and the geologic past and present of Central Oregon. Boyd points out that caldera is a Spanish word meaning caldron; a Caldera is the remnant of volcanic events and great transformations.

Earlier, during the visitors' section of the meeting, school board members heard from a large group of community members who urged the board to reconsider and name the new high school for Robert D. Maxwell of Bend, a former teacher and the nation's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, who died last year.

Here is what some had to say about the naming process:

"He's more important to inspiring students than a rock or a tree or a stone. You picked things like calderas and vistas, and you even had to tell students what a caldera was so they can vote for it."

"Many of us feel that Bob has all of the attributes that of a real hero. The children today are lacking heroes, and by naming that school for Bob you are giving them something that they will learn about him, and hearing his name and his history."

"He taught kids, and mentored kids and mentored all of us!"

School board policy has been to not consider naming schools for individuals within the first five years after their passing. Board members said they will revisit that policy in June and worked toward naming a building at Bend Senior High School for Maxwell, as he taught automotive tech.

Honoring veterans is something that the board is always working to do. Board member Melissa Barnes Dholakia echoed those thoughts.

"I am deeply appreciative of our armed forces, and their service," Barnes Dhokalia said. "And I do think that one of the hardest pieces about this process has been that somehow in the naming of the high school that that isn't the case -- and it is."

Board member Amy Tatom added that she "would prefer to name schools after people, but I am in the minority on that. And our policy as it is laid out is pretty clear, that there is a naming committee for a reason, so we will choose from one of the three names that we have been given by the committee."

Board member Julie Craig said she's "sorry that we cannot honor everyone and everything that people hold valuable to themselves. But at this point, I would concur with the committee and vote for the name Caldera."

The new high school, which will be the first large high school to open in Bend in two decades, will include nearly 60 new classrooms, including several Career and Technical Education (CTE) classrooms, a 600-seat auditorium, a library as the central focal point of the school, a football stadium and other sports fields, two secure main entries and more.

In the coming weeks and months, a small group of staff will work alongside Boyd to develop the instructional design, create programs, and think about how students and families will transition to the new school. 

Article Topic Follows: Education
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Jacob Larsen

Jacob Larsen is a reporter and weather anchor for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jacob here.

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