Stalemate in Naming Duluth's New Eastern Middle School

By KBJR News 1

October 18, 2011 Updated Oct 18, 2011 at 9:42 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - What's in a name?
The community and school board members tackled that question Tuesday while trying to figure out what to call the new eastern middle school.

Their discussion ultimately ended in a stalemate.

After a 3-3 vote, naming the school was postponed to the next meeting in November.

Eastern middle school is still without a name, for now.

The names suggested by the committee were East and Ordean, while school board member Tim Grover pushed to add the name Myers-Wilkins into the ring, but that move was voted down in a tie.

Grover gave a speech on what Ruth Myers and Marge Wilkins meant for the school.

One was American Indian and the other African American, and Grover said both gave their time and were known as grandmothers among students in the schools.

"What an honor it would be to the memory to these to trailblazing women to name our new eastern middle school after them," said Grover.

At the same time, board member Tom Kasper gave a speech on Duluth banker Albert Ordean, whose name was part of what it now the new East High School.

Ordean had left money for needy students when he died.

"Albert Ordean saw 80 years ago that there were needs that were not being fulfilled by this community," said Kasper.

After discussion, the board decided to vote on naming the school Ordean East, combining the original recommendations from the committee.

That's where the stalemate was drawn with the vote of 3-3, and naming was postponed.

Mary Cameron, an African American board member, could have made the difference in both votes, whether to add Myers-Wilkins to the list of names, and whether to name the school East Ordean.

Board member Art Johnston had asked before the vote took place to postpone the vote until November, so Cameron could participate. That move was voted down.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike