STERLING – It’s not everyone who can boast a name that’s both synonymous – with local education – and eponymous – with a school named in his honor – but Harold Challand can.
But that could change.
The Sterling School District is exploring the idea of name change, from Challand Middle School to Sterling Middle School.
Harold Challand was a superintendent for Sterling Elementary Schools and principal at Sterling Junior High until he retired in 1969. That year, the school was renamed in his honor, first as Challand Junior High and later Challand Middle School.
A news article at the time described Challand as “synonymous with Sterling education.” Challand died in November 1987.
The reason for a new moniker? It’s confusing for parents of visiting athletic teams who try to locate Sterling’s middle school but don’t know its name.
This isn’t the first time the issue has been brought up. The idea of a new name came up 2 years ago as part of a stakeholder meeting, and again during a September school board meeting, where board members discussed the idea, agreeing that the name can be confusing, Superintendent Tad Everett said.
The name change is just in the talking stages at this point, and even if the district does decide to move forward with it, Challand’s name wouldn’t be relegated to the local history books, he said.
Options include naming the school’s new $7.8 million arts and wellness center now under construction after Challand. It will have new orchestra and choir rooms as well as a gym. It’s scheduled to be completed by August.
Other options would be to put a memorial in the school lobby, or work with the city to have a Challand Memorial Way.
It’s important to “maintain respect for [Challand] and his family,” Everett said.
The district is taking feedback on the idea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While there’s no timeline yet, but the decision to name the new arts and wellness center should be made by spring, Everett said.