As Wendy McDonnel picked up her son, William, from Mark Twain Elementary, she said the school has been pivotal in getting her fourth grader ready for the future. In her opinion, part of that has to do with the facility's name.
"Mark Twain has such a rich history as an author as one of our great American authors and he does have that emphasis of reading and writing. I think it's invaluable for kids to learn about those types of people," McDonnel said.
The building will not be around much longer. Two years from now, Longfellow Elementary will merge with Mark Twain. Both schools will join at the Mark Twain site inside of a new building. Though the nearly 100-year-old building will be demolished, McDonnel said she wants the name to stay the same. Right now that may not happen. On the Sioux Falls School District website, officials want you to suggest new names for the new school. The site gives you a list of criteria for a new name suggestion:
Presidents of the United States
Persons who have achieved distinction in such fields as art, literature, music, education, or science
Individuals who have made a significant contribution to society
Location of the school, its street, or direction
Famous event or location
McDonnel is against this idea and one of the more than 370 members of a Facebook group called Mark Twain - Save the Name.
"Longfellow has been blessed with the fact that DakotAbilities is going to keep their name as part of their building and we would just like the same courtesy," McDonnel said.
School District officials declined an on-camera interview, but said this is standard practice for naming a new facility. A statement to KELOLAND News says, "The Sioux Falls School District policy on the naming of new facilities is to create a committee of parents, students, teachers, administrators, a School Board member and community members who will work together to choose a name from submitted suggestions."
"I don't think my little girl is going to like it, that they're going to change the name of her school," Jennifer Pruitt said.
Though Pruitt, who was picking up her daughter, wants to keep the name, she is open to new monikers. She suggested Ronald Reagan Elementary.
"I think he was somebody people could look up to, and he got us out of a terrible recession and he was a good person," Pruitt said.
This would not be the first time two schools have merged under a new name. The district combined Bancroft Elementary and Franklin Elementary into Terry Redlin Elementary 15 years ago. As for McDonnel, she hopes this piece of history doesn't become a thing of the past.
"They're changing the building. You can't change the legacy, and the legacy is what needs to remain," McDonnel said.