Crouch excited about joining naming committee

Rider teacher to contribute to new schools’ naming process

Manasvi Reddy, Editor-In-Chief

The naming process for WFISD’s two new high schools is officially underway. A committee of 40 individuals – 10 parents, 10 community members, 10 staff members, and 10 students 8th grade and below – met on Thursday, March 4 to outline the name selection process.

Committee members, including Rider alumna and current teacher Alisha Crouch, were appointed to equally represent all three current high schools. Individuals were chosen via a public nomination form in February.

“I did nominate myself,” she said. “That’s something I really wanted to be a part of, and I literally, the day that they were going to post it (the nomination form), was refreshing so that I could fill it out and get signed up.”

When the new schools were narrowly approved through the passage of a bond on Nov. 3, Crouch was vocal about her disapproval, as she was in favor of keeping the current facilities and names. However, the chance to contribute to such a significant part of the community was not an opportunity she was willing to dismiss.

“I love Rider High School, but the reason our school is so special is because of our identity and what we’ve built,” she said. “I want these two new schools to be able to have the same special experience that the old three schools have had. I think a lot of that starts with the name, a name that we can be proud of.”

Per the timeline provided by the school district, the committee will reconvene on May 10, where it will be randomly split into two groups, one for each school, to begin reviewing the names suggested by community members. The Board of Trustees is set to receive a list of the committee’s top 5 names by June 21 and will then discuss the options at the monthly board meeting before voting in July or early August. Mascots and school colors will also be discussed in the future.

Though Crouch would prefer the two new high schools inherit the names “Rider” and “Wichita Falls,” she knows that such an occurrence is highly unlikely. However, both names, as well as “Hirschi,” cannot be found at another high school across Texas, a uniqueness Crouch believes the new schools should strive to attain as well.

“The biggest thing I’m against is just ‘East’ and ‘West,’” she said. “I don’t like that because there’s no identity, and there’s a lot of other ‘Easts’ and ‘Wests.’ Just because that’s the easy thing to do doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do, so I’m looking forward to seeing what all of the nominations from the community are.”

Crouch, along with the rest of Wichita Falls, will submit name nominations through the conclusion of April. According to the naming criteria announced by WFISD, potential subjects include past events, geographic areas, and prominent or deceased educators, community members or notable historical persons.

Even as a member of the naming committee, Crouch’s nomination will receive the same amount of weight as any other submission, so she encourages members of the community, including students, parents and alumni, to fill out the nomination form. Among her ideas for the new schools’ namesakes are influential citizens, such as Morris K. Mercer, a former Rider football coach, or former Wichita Falls Justice of the Peace Arthur Bea Williams. 

“There’s a lot of people that have really contributed a lot to our education system,” she said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing what all the community sends in because that’s the most important thing, that we send in names that are not necessarily what I want, but what the community wants.”