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VMS Students Make History With Vandal2Viking Project
Students at Vale Middle School recently made history when the school board allowed them to become part of the Viking community. The mascot was officially changed to the Vikings on March 9th.
The project began in Mrs. Lattin's Reading classes at VMS as a practice Performance Task for the state assessments. Students agreed that the Vandal mascot was outdated and desperately needed a facelift.
The different mascots date back thirty years when every Vale school was in a separate school district. Today, the local schools are all part of the Vale School District and having one mascot makes sense. Eighth grader Maycee DeLong said, "I feel like changing our name to the Vikings helped us feel more together with the rest of the school. I liked the project."
Using an essay format arguing pros and cons, the students appealed to the Vale School Board to make the change.
Prior to writing, the students researched old yearbooks housed in the VMS library. The students discovered VMS was originally the Wildcats. The colors were blue and gold.
According to the yearbooks, that changed in 1987 when the school found blue and gold uniforms too costly. Using black and white allowed the middle school to obtain hand-me-down uniforms from the high school.
In February, the students invited Darlene McConnell, former VMS athletic director, and Jeff Wagner, former VMS teacher, to speak to the classes about the original change. Both agreed the time was right for VMS to become the Vikings.
The group also interviewed Brent Barton, former VMS principal, and former and current students.
The students surveyed staff members, current students, and former students about the proposed change. Overall, 91 percent of those surveyed were in favor of the change. Of those who responded, 44 percent were students, and 56 percent were staff members.
Respondents cited community pride as the number one reason for the change. Other benefits included cost saving by sharing Viking uniforms and the overall sense of unity the Viking name brings to the middle school and community.
The student presentation to the school board included copies of the student essays, a student-created video about the project, and survey results.
After discussion, the Vale School District Board of Directors unanimously approved the resolution.
Since then, the student body held a contest to redesign the letterhead used at VMS. Eighth grade student, Rylee Hill, received a gift card and wooden Viking pride block his winning entry.
VMS Principal Jeri Schaffeld presented the new letterhead at the April school board meeting.
When questioned about the changes, Vale School District Superintendent Scott Linenberger stated, "I think it's terrific." Linenberger said the students of VMS had made history with this project and would likely remember their efforts forever.
According to Linenberger, the board liked the student presentation and agreed it was time to make the change. Students at VMS are excited to be part of the Viking legacy.
Students at Vale Middle School spent the last week collecting gently used books to donate to Book It Forward which will be held April 27th and 28th at the Malheur County Child Development Center, 401 E St. W. in Vale. Anna Klug, Vale On-Sit Coordinator for MCCDC, coordinates the program yearly. Students of all ages from several school districts get to choose their own books during the two-day event. VMS students collected 1,414 books to donate to the program. The students sorted the books and delivered boxes to the Head Start in support of the program. Pictured are Anna Klug, left side, and VMS students.
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