Board will pick school’s new name

Published 6:50 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Austin Public School Board has a big decision to make Monday.

Board members will choose a name for the new fifth- and sixth-grade intermediate school at a monthly special session.

The new school could be named Evergreen, Maria Vaughn, George A. Hormel (or George and Lillian Hormel), Ralph T. Holman, or I.J. Holton.

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Evergreen comes from Evergreen Farm, which was owned by Allen V. and Helen Ellis, the namesake of Ellis Middle School. At 15 years old, Maria Vaughn (Hepzibeth Maria Vaughn Wilder was her full name) was the teacher at the first school to open in Mower County in 1855.

George and Lillian Hormel founded Geo. A. Hormel & Co., which eventually became Hormel Foods Corp., the multi-billion dollar international company largely responsible for Austin’s growth over the past 100 years. Dr. Ralph Holman is best known for naming the Omega-3 fatty acid during his time at The Hormel Institute. I.J. Holton was President of Hormel Foods from 1969 to 1979 and CEO from 1969 to 1981, and was well-known for his effort to keep the flagship Hormel plant in Austin in 1978.

The names were recommended by a School Naming Committee at a board meeting two weeks ago after residents submitted potential names to the district earlier this summer. Board members have the final say as to what the name will be, and whether the new school will be an intermediate or middle school.

The board will also review the results of a breakfast study done at Neveln Elementary School last year by Hormel researchers, who were interested to find whether local students face a protein deficiency at breakfast.

Board members will discuss the district’s wellness policy as well.