Introducing the Columbia (insert high school name here) Spartans. Maybe.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 6:54 p.m. CDT; updated 6:40 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 4, 2010

COLUMBIA — The sixth-graders have spoken.

Their votes are in, and Spartans are the leading mascot choice for the new high school. As the first freshmen to enter the school when it opens in 2013, the sixth-graders gave their input on a mascot and colors through a survey, a previous Missourian article stated.

Michelle Baumstark, community relations coordinator, said the number of students who selected Spartans was “overwhelming.”

Blue and gold was a top color combination, along with red and gold.

The naming committee will review the top mascots and colors to consider as it discusses possible names for the school. The Columbia School Board will make the final decision.

Community members also have been asked for input on the name of the new school. Baumstark said there have been about 140 submissions so far, with two choices clearly at the top: Neil Aslin, a former Columbia superintendent, and Eliot and Muriel Battle, educators who worked to integrate Columbia’s schools.

According to Roger Gafke’s “A History of Public School Education in Columbia,” Aslin served as superintendent from 1946 to 1962. He was principal at Hickman High School for two years prior.

Baumstark said Aslin hired the Battles. Gafke’s book reports that both held positions at Douglass High School — then a school for black children— when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against racially segregated schools in 1954. When the shift happened in Columbia, Eliot Battle took a guidance position at Hickman, and Muriel Battle taught at West Junior High School. She died in 2003.

Bradley Beary is another name that has also been discussed. Beary was a Hickman football player who died in 2001. His family is petitioning to have the school named after him, but Baumstark said that as of Tuesday, there was no official submission.

The submission deadline is Friday, and the naming committee will meet on Monday for discussion and a possible recommendation. The public meeting is at 5 p.m. in the district's Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

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