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It's official: Standing Bear High is name of new high school in southeast Lincoln
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It's official: Standing Bear High is name of new high school in southeast Lincoln

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70th and Saltillo high school work

Dirt work begins at the site of a new high school at South 70th Street and Saltillo Road on May 7, 2021. 

Lincoln Public Schools has finally put the question to rest.

What's in a name?

All three of the district's new schools finally have one after the Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved Standing Bear High as the name for the new high school in southeast Lincoln set to open in 2023. 

Lincoln Northwest High and Robinson Elementary, names for the two other schools being built with money from a $290 million bond issue, were approved last month. 

Standing Bear High joins Lincoln High as the city's only public high schools not based on a direction and it's the first to be named for a person.

That person is one of the most important figures in Nebraska's history. Chief Standing Bear, who led the Ponca Tribe during the turbulence of the 19th century, persuaded a federal judge in an Omaha courtroom in 1879 to recognize Natives as persons with the right to sue for their freedom.

CHIEF STANDING BEAR

A statue of Ponca Chief Standing Bear of Nebraska, after its unveiling in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol in 2019.

Board member Annie Mumgaard said she's heard some concern from the community about the Standing Bear name, but said the educational opportunity it provides is "long overdue." 

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"I really do believe this is a very healthy thing for our community," she said, calling the name "a large responsibility" the district must handle with respect.

Board member Bob Rauner, who chaired the southeast high school naming committee, said there were mixed opinions about the name initially. But it soon became evident, he said, that the school district could take a leading role in the nation at a time when using Native names and likenesses has become problematic.

"The name itself is an educational process," he said. "I am confident LPS will do it the right way." 

With names out of the way, the attention turns to school mascots and colors.

That process includes each school's principal and staff working with parents and incoming students to "build an identity," said John Neal, associate superintendent for governmental relations. 

Mascots and school colors are like any other individual school policy, Neal added, and don't have to be formally approved by the board. There is also no set timeline on when those elements are decided.

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Contact the writer at zhammack@journalstar.com or 402-473-7225. On Twitter @zach_hammack

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Education reporter/Night content coordinator

Zach Hammack, a 2018 UNL graduate, has always called Lincoln home. He previously worked as a copy editor at the Journal Star and was a reporting intern in 2017. Now, he covers students, teachers and schools as the newspaper’s K-12 reporter.

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