The list of names generated over 750 comments, which the committee aggregated. About 57% of those who weighed in were in favor of a full name change, 22% were not in favor of a name change, and 21% were in favor of simplifying the existing name to Madison Memorial or Memorial High School.
A ranked choice vote and a list of criteria were used to narrow down the list of 24 names, which were put forward through community proposals, in four meetings over three months. First, the 12-person name change committee reduced the list to 21 names, then to 14 and finally to four, which will be presented to the school board after a public hearing.
Next, the committee and school board will seek public comment on the last four names at the September 29 hearing. After the hearing, the committee will present the names and public comments to Council, which will make a final decision.
Other recent name changes
Memorial High School is the third school building in Madison to undergo a multi-month name change process in the past two years.
Dr. Virginia Henderson Elementary School, formerly Glendale Elementary, changed its name in early 2020 to honor a longtime Madison Schools employee who served as a psychologist at Southeast Side School for 15 years. Outside the district, Henderson helped establish the African American Ethnic Academy – an after-school program to teach black children about African American culture and heritage.