Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday June 23, 2018
Citizen support has Bernie Custis, Nikola Tesla back in the mix for new Hamilton high school name
The chair of Hamilton’s public school board says trustees were as surprised as the public when the two most popular names for a new high school across from Tim Hortons Field didn’t even make the short list.
After asking for citizen input and hearing from almost 1,300 people, the advisory board tasked with providing finalists passed on the two with the greatest support — Bernie Custis, which had the most, followed by Nikola Tesla — for two with no local connection. It’s a decision that has led to a significant public outcry.
“I think it’s the names we missed that had us scratching our heads,” Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Todd White says.
Emails and calls have been pouring in to White and to The Spectator over the past couple of days, and social media has been humming. White says after hearing from many Custis supporters — and a few Tesla backers — it’s clear there’s “overwhelming support” for those two.
The only people who’ve contacted him about Shannen Koostachin are some media from northern Ontario. The Indigenous teenager fought for a school in Attawapiskat, but died in a car accident before she could see it come to fruition. Her name was favoured by the advisory panel.
“We didn’t hear much from the community on that name,” White says.
This all started back in February when the board asked the public to suggest possible names through its website. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)