The Bend-La Pine School Board is scheduled to discuss honoring retired Mountain View High School music teacher Rick Plants by naming the school’s auditorium for him. It would be a well-deserved honor for a man who spent more than 30 years giving Bend students his all where music is concerned.
Plants came to Bend in 1976 and taught in what is the administration building downtown. He moved to Bend High the following year, a year during which the school operated in double shifts to accommodate the city’s high schoolers as the district built Mountain View. That building opened in 1978, and Plants was there.
One of Plants’ memories, according to an article in The Bulletin, goes back to 1996, when Plants was in charge of music in a student production of “Grease.” He invited actor Kevin Costner to the show. Costner showed up, sneaked in, watched the show and sneaked out again.
Plants retired in 2009, the last of the original Mountain View staffers to leave the building. During his career, he led award-winning choirs and served as the school’s student activities director.
It would be difficult to find someone opposed to honoring Plants, and the district is right to consider honoring him. But why stop there? Its policy of naming schools after the scenery — no individuals, thank you, unless they’ve been dead for 5 years — gives us a bunch of beautiful buildings with rather silly names.
Better to name new buildings after the men and women who’ve helped make Bend what it is, no matter whether they’re alive or dead. We’d love to see something named for the Brookses or Scanlons who brought the timber industry to Bend, for U.C. Coe, an early doctor and the city’s second mayor, or for Grace Mary Linn, a Latin and English teacher who made her mark on her students for years. Or even someone who’s still alive. Making schools living symbols of the community’s history surely lives up to its educational mission.