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Students from Beacon Hill and Catlin elementary schools spoke, and the Kelso School Board listened: The new 950-student building that will replace two schools in Kelso will be named Lexington Elementary School. It will be the home of the green and silver Lexington Eagles.

The board approved the name, mascot and colors for the new school at a Monday night meeting after a weeks-long process of gathering recommendations and polling the students who will attend the school once it’s built.

“We heard loud and clear from the students that they wanted to be the Lexington Eagles,” said Leah Moore, board president.

The district in March launched a public survey that allowed community members to pitch their ideas for names, mascots and school colors. Then, a naming committee comprised of students, teachers, school staff, community members and local business representatives narrowed down the suggestions to their three favorite choices: the Lexington Eagles, the Cowlitz River Otters and the Riverside Otters.

Board members asked that those options be forwarded to Beacon Hill and Catlin schools, where each student could vote on their favorite name.

“The board thought it was a good idea to leave it up for the students,” said board member Howard Sharples. He noted that the students should “have a voice in choosing the name of the new school,” and the mascot that will represent them and “we want our students to know their opinions have value.”

Though an official count of the votes was unavailable Monday, Associate Director of Teaching and Learning Lacey DeWeert said that Lexington Eagles “won by a landslide.”

DeWeert said all three choices represented the geographical placement of the school, which was important to stakeholders who helped support the $98.6 million bond that is funding the new building.

Moore, the board president, agreed.

“This new school will be a gathering place for learning, athletics and community events, and we wanted the name to connect the school to the neighborhood. Eagles are not only a patriotic symbol of America, they are frequently seen along the river blocks away from the school,” Moore said in a prepared statement Monday.

Now that a name, mascot and colors have been approved for the new school, students and staff in the district can submit designs for how the Lexington Eagle should look, DeWeert said. A final mascot design will be selected at a later date.

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