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What's in a name? That which we call a school by another name...can turn sour.
 
Hundreds of students poured from the doors of a Sebastopol high school Friday, ending school after third period. It wasn't about COVID or any national issue--but the school's on-again, off-again, on-again name change.
 
Chanting, students marched to key intersections. At Gravenstein and Bodega highways, senior Hannah Berkheimer revved the crowd with a bullhorn.
  
"You are walking out of class today because you are angry! You are walking out of class today because you don't want your history at West County to be erased, because there are no more Analy High and El Molino students, only West County students. This is your community, your home! This is West County!" she said to loud cheers. Passing vehicles periodically honked in solidarity.
  
 
 
 
 

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Years of declining enrollment forced consolidation of Forestville's El Molino with Sebastopol's Analy High. A committee was named to generate a new name, while the campus was dubbed 'West County' in the interim. Outraged Analy alumni launched a recall effort against the school board, and later threatened to shun fundraisers.
  
One student said she thinks new funds would emerge.
  
"I know for a fact that there are plenty of local Sebastopol and Sonoma County businesses that would be willing to donate to the West County name, and I think that living in the past, and still wanting the Analy name is childish"
 
Patrick Nagle, new President of the West Sonoma County Union High School District's Board of Trustees, said it wasn't financial threats but real re-branding costs, that helped tip the scales. And that there really was no good answer. "There's going to be a percentage of people, no matter what we picked, was not going to be happy with the decision."

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The renaming committee was dropped and recently, trustees opted to restore the Analy name come August. 
 
Despite the walkout, Nagle said a survey of students last month found the school's old name was more actually popular. "There are students that are speaking out against it," he said referring to the walkout, "but they don't speak for all the students. We've received a lot of communication from students that want to remain Analy."
 
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