Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

History is often more fascinating than fiction, and Jackson Elementary's name history is no exception. Neal Patwari, Jackson SCC chair and name change initiator, may not have read the 1983 Jackson historical booklet, see "What's in a Name?" It lists some historic ties for the Jackson School name:

During 1892's initial Jackson School construction, Salt Lake Board of Education member William J. Newman was assigned to name this school after any president of the United States, yet he chose Andrew Jackson “because he wanted to honor his mother,” Mary Ann Jackson Newman, a schoolteacher in England prior to her marriage.

For reasons unclear, Newman’s journal later claimed a different Jackson, yet Jackson it stayed. Neither man was celebrated at Jackson School, nor was the intent of naming the school for his mother common knowledge. 1920’s yearbooks gave slight mention, but there was nothing going forward.

William Jackson Newman, Mary's son, went on to become a member of the Salt Lake Board of Education for 20 years, two as president (1901 to 1903). He was an immigrant raised by a single mother who instilled in him traits of courage, kindness and tenacity, especially toward education. His mother died six years previous to his naming of Jackson School. Shining light on this forgotten original intent of Jackson School's name, at the very least, should be considered before the 125-year-old solved mystery is discarded.

This is an appeal to the Salt Lake School District to cease and desist all name change progress until a fair and balanced approach is determined.

Jeri Olsen

Salt Lake City