The daughter and a childhood friend of Arlie Seems expressed frustration that the Bend-La Pine School Board had decided not to consider naming Bend’s newest elementary school after the longtime teacher.
Board members had planned to select the school’s new name during Tuesday’s meeting, but postponed the decision because two board members were not present to vote.
In a list of hundreds of school name submissions provided by Bend-La Pine, the most suggested name was Arlie Seems Elementary, but his name was not on the list of three finalists revealed in December — North Star, Ruth Reid and Florence Drake. Seems’ daughter, Katie Kessel, told the board Tuesday that the late teacher was “not simply overlooked, but ignored.”
“It begs the question, if you ask the public’s opinion and ignore the results, why ask the public in the first place?” she said. “Arlie Seems was exceptional, and he was the public’s choice.”
Lifelong Bend resident Susie Fagen-Wirges, who said she was born in the same hospital as Seems and attended school with him, was “befuddled” as to why Seems wasn’t a finalist.
“I can’t go anywhere mentioning the name Arlie Seems in this town without getting one of his students or one of his students’ children to say how great he was,” she said.
Seems taught for over 30 years at Jewell, Buckingham and Kenwood elementary schools in Bend and was a lifelong Bend resident who graduated from Bend High School. He died in 2013 at 62.
The five school board members present — Julie Craig, Carrie Douglass, Cheri Helt, Andy High and Stuart Young, who was on speakerphone — agreed unanimously to postpone a vote on the elementary school’s name until a later board meeting, when absent members Peggy Kinkade and Ron Gallinat could be present.
The new school, located in north Bend at the corner of O.B. Riley and Cooley roads, is expected to open in September 2019 and hold 600 students.
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