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February 27, 2024

Public can share views on new school name at May hearing

The Hollister School District will hold a public hearing May 21 to gather input on a name for the new school being built near the Santana Ranch development off Fairview Road.

Trustees heard a presentation at Tuesday’s regular meeting about the top names chosen in an online survey along with preferred mascots.

Facilities Director John Teliha and Judi Johnson, a former trustee, gave an overview of the selection process to this point for the school expected to open in 2021. The online survey was available throughout March on the district website with 110 overall submissions for names and mascots.

Johnson mentioned how there was a lot of discussion on how long the names would be in effect or if they’d be permanent. As for the mascots, Johnson recommended students of the new school play a central role once it opens.

“We really strongly ask and support that the students be allowed to choose their own mascot,” Johnson said.

The two representatives for the selection committee also reminded the board about endangered species in that geographic area as considerations. Those include the San Joaquin kit fox, the tiger salamander, the red-legged frog and the burrowing owl.

One trustee, Stephen Cain, also commented on a former educator being on the list of possible school names as the third most popular option for respondents. He said others come to mind who might deserve such an honor as well.

“To say that, I want this one instead of this one, I would have a real hard time doing that myself,” he said.

Trustees discussed the prospect for shoring up the process to honor former educators with plaques.

According to the survey results presented Tuesday, 31 residents voted for Santana Elementary as the No. 1 choice followed by Fairview Elementary (17 votes), Cindy Lubke Elementary (12 votes), Erma A. Pivetti Elementary (8 votes), Hollister Hills Elementary (4), Julian Flores Elementary (3), Pinnacles Elementary (3), William Welles Elementary (3) and Cesar Chavez Elementary (2).

As for mascots, voters picked Coyotes and Lions tied at No. 1 with 9 votes, Condors at No. 2 with 7 votes, Falcons with 6, and six tied at 5 votes (Eages, Hawks, Mustangs, Stallions, Owls and Wildcats). Others getting votes included Badgers, Bluejays, Bobcats, Fox, Snakes and Tigers.

The Hollister district completed the design late last year. The school will be smaller in size than a standard K-8 campus due to lacking funds, and school officials are looking at January 2021 as a target opening date.

After the May public hearing, the board has the final say on the names, and can choose one of the suggestions or go in its own direction, Superintendent Diego Ochoa clarified.