I am writing in response to the letter from Mr. Joseph Dingle, published Thursday, May 28, 2020, regarding the name change of St. Paul Elementary School to Dr. Rose H. Wilder Elementary.
I am surprised Mr. Dingle expressed that the school should have been renamed for one of our pioneers in the struggle for equality in education. The new St. Paul Elementary School was built shortly after the Early Childhood Center was completed. There were discussions about changing the name at that time. Why didn’t he propose the name change then? In 2016, Mr. Dingle was elected to the Clarendon One School Board. While serving on the board he could have proposed the change then, but did not. It is my opinion that Mr. Dingle’s only concern is that the school was renamed for Dr. Rose Wilder.
He also stated that the people who wanted the school named for Dr. Wilder did not know the history. I beg to disagree. I was one of the children who signed the petition for equalization of schools, along with my parents and siblings. We were the second family to sign after the Briggs family. He also stated that the people in the area are not aware of the history. It is a part of the curriculum in the school district and is being taught in the Early Childhood Center through high school. I have spent many hours telling the story to students in Clarendon School Districts One and Two.
I think that renaming the school for Dr. Wilder was very appropriate. If she had not figured out a way to fund the building of the new school our elementary school students might still be housed in the old Scott’s Branch High School.
Dr. Wilder did more for Clarendon School District One than any superintendent in my memory. Before building the new elementary school, she finished the Early Childhood Center that had been sitting vacant for several years. During her tenure, Scott’s Branch High School was reported in U.S. News and World Report for three consecutive years as one of the best schools in the country. I would also like to point out that serving as superintendent of a school district is nothing like being a regular employee. The responsibilities are far greater than any of those assigned to any regular employee.
Therefore, I do not think that Mr. Dingle is at all concerned about renaming St. Paul for one of our pioneers, but objects to it being named Dr. Rose H. Wilder Elementary School.
This Letter to the Editor was previously published in the Manning Times