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SHEPHERDSVILLE - Heather Terrell said there is no reason to be ashamed to say that you attended Bullitt Lick Middle School over the past 33 years.
But, if the school’s name is changed, she said it is a slap at the institution that has educated many fine students over the past four decades.
With each passing comment at the school-based council meeting in May, opinions seemed to sway.
The question was whether the council should recommend the Bullitt County Public School Board to allow a change to the Bullitt Lick name.
Superintendent Keith Davis had offered a suggestion about the change after hearing a deviation of the school’s actual name.
Principal Johnda Conley said after Davis mentioned the possible change, she wanted to get the input of the students, teachers and parents before moving forward.
A letter from members of the STRIDE team of seventh graders supported the change to either the Westside Warriors or the Westside Wolverines as they are tired of hearing the negative connotations about their school’s current name.
“There’s a negative connotation to the name,” admitted Conley, who heard some of the jokes while at Bernheim Middle.
Trying to get a new start, she said maybe a change to the name could help.
A survey showed 78 percent of the respondents in support of a change. Conley said there were also a number of good comments.
One of the suggestions included changing to Shepherdsville Middle School and making the Raiders the mascot to coincide with the youth football and cheerleading program.
Teacher member Walter Gartner was concerned about losing a part of the history of the community if the name was changed. He could support Shepherdsville Middle.
Scott Quisenberry, another teacher member of the council, said there was a rich history with the salt licks. He could support the Shepherdsville Middle name but would like to see an updated Bobcat logo.
Parent member Jamie Cromer said her husband was against any change but she favored one, hoping to get a new start.
However, she said if the board could supply $75,000 to change the name on the building and other cosmetic changes, why it couldn’t provide the same dollars for instructional needs.
“I think we need a fresh start,” said parent member Ruth Anderson. “The kids want it. I think we need a name change.”
Student Bradley Anderson said he was tired of the nickname.
He felt a change could improve the learning environment and create more business support for the school. He was supporting the Westside Wolverine name.
Parent Kenann Bradley also wondered why the money to be spent on the name change couldn’t be used for instructional needs.
David Marshall, director of secondary education, said the money comes from another source and has nothing to do with instructional funds.
Teacher Tonie Weddle said the name change was a hot topic with the students. However, she said it would take more than a change of the name to make a real difference.
“It will take all of us together to make a difference,” said Weddle.
“The image has got to change inside,” said Gartner.
He added it was difficult when others make negative comments about the school.
“We are a great school,” said Gartner. “We’re headed in the right direction.”
As secretary for the school-based council, Terrell patiently listened to the discussion. Then she gave a passionate plea to keep the name the same.
“Let’s be Bullitt Lick and rise above it,” said Terrell. “The buzz is good.”
She said it would be more fulfilling to be able to show others that Bullitt Lick can succeed, despite the comments of others.
“Wouldn’t it be great to say, ‘Look how far we have come,’” asked Terrill.
Weddle agreed that she is hearing more positive comments about the recent changes.
Gartner used the negative comments to spur students to do well on the recent CATS exams as a way to improve their scores and dispel the negative image.