The Ottumwa Courier

March 12, 2013

Liberty rings in as name for elementary school

CINDY TOOPES
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — After much deliberation between the names“Liberty” and “Fahrney” — Liberty Elementary School it is. It has a nice ring to it.

No one should forget what the two choices of names mean, and Ottumwans understand that.

The Ottumwa School District has a new elementary school, and the administrative staff wanted community members to name the school.

During Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Davis Eidahl wanted the board members to name the new elementary school and told them he was “leaving the decision to them.”

Suggestions came from more than 70 people who suggested names for the new elementary school being built on the city’s southern edge.

Board members and others helped with the naming contest and let Eidahl deal with design of the new building.

The contest came down to two words — liberty and Fahrney. Liberty means freedom, and education often sets people free from old paths of behavior.

Many Ottumwans may wonder what Fahrney means. That’s the name of a family that invested a lot of money in Ottumwa. Their generosity lives on today because there are scholarships with the Fahrney name on them.

Eidahl praised the school district and all the improvements they’ve made during the past decade.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “That makes a tremendous advantage for students who attend Ottumwa High School.”

From the clubs to the academics, the school district leaders are focused on school and how to make the district better.

“We want to provide quality education for each student, and we hold ourselves accountable,” he said. “We continue to keep our testing scores right at or above the state average.”

Eidahl also noted every student reads at grade level before leaving the second grade.

“The board and the work they’ve done during the past 10 years is amazing. It’s a tremendous advantage for students to attend Ottumwa High School,” he said. “We’ve got a great thing going in southeast Iowa.”