Alternative education has new name

Pioneer High is the new name for city's alternative high school, but the philosophy of providing alternative education will remain, Principal Charles Keller said.

The Carson City school's staff and faculty chose the name from a list of five that students suggested last year.

"We are part of the alternative education division, but with the name Alternative High, nobody could give me a positive connection," he said. "I didn't want to pick something they had no concept of. I wanted to select from a list that the students had chosen."

Silver State was ruled out, as was Silver Sage, because Keller said he wanted to avoid the initials SS before the words high school.

He also wanted to avoid duplicating the initials of another area high school.

Many students aren't too keen on the name, said Marsha Schlachta, the school's student body president.

"A lot of us don't like the name. I would rather have a different name, but it's better than alternative high," Schlachta said. "At first, I was a bit iffy about the name. It doesn't bother me now. We're known as a good school."

"Alternative sounds like a place for bad kids, kids who have been kicked out of school," said Lacyann Garner, vice president of the student body council.

"But it (the name) is fine. I'll go with the flow. I like it because it gives us a sense of character. It's better than alternative."

Student Stephanie Baumgardner said she preferred the name Alternative.

"I preferred it because it's more an expression of us, more of what we do," she said.

It does not matter what the school is called, student Justin Hayes said.

"We're not here to fight about school names and mascots, but to get an education," he said.

Student Dorene Koontz said she wasn't sure what she would rather replace it with, but she didn't like Pioneer.

"It sounds old fashioned, like we're behind the times," she said.

The new name comes at a time when the school has been aligned with Carson High School's rules and regulations.

In early September, Superintendent Jim Parry described Carson City as a one high-school town.

Close to two months later, Parry said his opinion remains the same, but he approved the new name anyway, giving the school a separate identity.

"I think the high school wanted to retain its autonomy, but develop closer ties with the high school at the same time," Parry said. "It's a satellite school that is still unto itself."

The new name is one of a series of steps to foster community within the school, Keller said.

The next step is develop a school mascot and from there, the school may consider forming a parent teacher association.

For a mascot, Keller said, he envisages a pioneer wearing buckskins, propped up against a wagon, and carrying a laptop computer.

"'Pioneer High School, an alternative school to success,' but that (the mascot) will be up to the students to decide," he said.


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