Northern Illinois University

Dist 428-NIU Partnership

Contact: Scott Kubelka,
Principal, Wright Elementary School
(815) 754-2334

February 5, 2004

“Wright Elementary” honors Malta benefactor

Board of Education chooses name for partnership school

DeKalb – Wright was right at Monday’s District 428 Board of Education meeting, as school board members chose to honor a longtime Malta resident and district benefactor in naming the district’s newest elementary school.

Paul T. Wright Elementary School has until now been known simply as “the partnership school,” based on its unique identity as a joint initiative between the district and Northern Illinois University. Board members chose the school’s new name from more than 60 entries submitted by district schoolchildren in a “name-the-school” contest.

The winning essay, by Lincoln Elementary School fourth-grader Henry Deng, cited Paul Wright’s many contributions to the area, including donation of 38 acres to the school district for construction of the former Malta High School – the building now being remodeled for new life as Wright Elementary.

“Mr. Wright wanted children to have a good education,” Henry wrote. “Having the school named after Mr. Wright, it will help us remember the wonderful thing he and his family did for our community.”

“Also, ‘Wright’ has a double meaning. When you say “Wright Elementary School,” it sounds like you’re saying the RIGHT elementary school. People will say, “It’s the right elementary school for your kids!”

In announcing the board’s choice, school board president Tom Terensinski echoed those sentiments.

“We were very impressed with the amount of thought and creativity that went into all of these essays,” Teresinski said. “It was a hard choice, but I think for all the reasons stated in Henry’s essay, this is the right choice for this very exciting, very unique school.”

Other entries ranged from names of famous historical figures and inspirational words to fantasy titles and humorous sayings.

“We each had our own favorites,” said Tyler Elementary School Principal Scott Kubelka, who will take over as principal at Wright this summer.

“I enjoyed the one from a little boy who thought the school should have a pirate theme, and the little girl who thought it should be named for prairie wildflowers – they were all very creative and thoughtful,” he said.

Anne Kaplan, NIU’s vice president for administration and outreach, heads up the NIU side of the school’s partnership. She called the new name, “a wonderful choice,” and added that the process was almost as important as the final outcome.

“The partnership school is all about helping children stretch and grow and become as creative as possible in their learning,” Kaplan said. “It’s a lovely beginning for the school to be named in a way that underscores the educational philosophy of our partnership.”