KANSAS CITY — The nominations are in. For several months the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has held a contest to choose a name for a new eastern Jackson County high school planned to open in fall 2015. Catholics young and not so young from across the region submitted their suggestions for the name.
Steve Hilliard, Director of Strategic Planning for the Diocese, said, “We appreciate the community’s response. Good, thoughtful suggestions were submitted, and we’re excited about this next phase of the contest.”
To recap, the school, to be built in northern Lee’s Summit and opened in the fall of 2015, will be distinctly Catholic, co-educational and college preparatory, preparing students to lead and to serve. The histories and traditions of Archbishop O’Hara and St. Mary’s high schools will serve as the foundation for the new school, which will also honor the spirit of other metro area Catholic high schools that have gone before: Bishop Lillis, Cardinal Glennon, Bishop Hogan, De LaSalle and Loretto academies.
Last fall, a group from both St. Mary’s and Archbishop O’Hara high schools and neighboring communities, met for a 2-day workshop to discuss what they believed the new high school should be and do. After the group outlined their ideas, a committee, comprised of diocesan clergy, staff and lay leaders, fleshed them out and compiled them into a program statement: We Believe…We Commit.
The first step in participating in the naming contest was to read the program statement. In step two, Hilliard said, participants thought and prayed about a name that would reflect the beliefs and commitments listed in the statement. The name submitted had to include one or more of the following:
• a saint’s name,
• a title of Jesus Christ or Mary, for example, Good Shepherd or Mater Dei,
• a name of a Catholic leader or belief, for example, Holy Family, cardinal virtues or Bishop Smith.
After choosing a name, the person suggesting the name was to explain why that name was chosen, based on the “We Believe … We Commit” statement.
More than 150 unique names were submitted, each with detailed reasons connecting the name with the diocese. After reviewing the suggestions, and tabulating the results, Bishop Robert W. Finn approved three possible names. Now it’s time to vote on them.
The finalists are:
• St. Francis of Assisi High School,
• Mother of Mercy High School, and
• St. Michael the Archangel High School.
Voting can be done online at www.MyCatholicSchools.com or clip, complete and mail the adjacent form to The NEW High School Naming Contest, c/o the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, 20 West 9th Street, Kansas City, Mo., 64105. The voting period begins Aug. 10 and has been extended to Aug. 24, to give everyone two full weeks to ponder and pray about the name to be chosen for the new high school and, of course, to vote. The name of the contest winner and that of the new high school will be highlighted in the Sept. 7 issue of The Catholic Key. The person who originally submitted the eventual winning name will receive a $250 gift card.
Hilliard said his office and the Catholic Schools Office are working together on curriculum, and to develop activities for St. Mary’s and Archbishop O’Hara students, connected with the new high school, including selecting the school’s colors and mascot. Hilliard is also working with financing, and some preliminary architectural planning and site development.
“We want to involve alumni from St. Mary’s and O’Hara,” he said, “as well as from De LaSalle, Loretto, Cardinal Glennon, Lillis and Bishop Hogan high schools in a celebration of Catholic education. This, a new high school, is possible because of the firm foundation laid by the fine schools that went before.”