MISSOULA – A new Missoula Elementary School will be named after legendary Montana Congresswoman Jennette Rankin, but it took an effort from two fifth grade students to make it happen.

The motivation came when Ella Seaver and Mary Jaeger realized there was no school in Missoula named after a woman, so the pair jumped on the opportunity to make a change.

They emailed their submission to a special committee and then Missoula County Public Schools narrowed the names entered down to five finalists. Jaeger and Seaver’s Jeannette Rankin suggestion made it to the final five so to rally support, they took to social media.

The two students made a video stating all the schools in and around Missoula named after men or landscapes, but none after a female.

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“She is a really amazing leader for all of us,” Jaeger said. “She is an example, to who no matter who thinks you are less than them… you are really not.”

“This opportunity allows me to build up more things that allows us to change this world into something more (equal),” Seaver added. 

Throughout the name selection process, Jaeger and Seaver were the only two to stand in front of the Board of Trustees to make a public comment on the issue.

This isn’t the only school in Western Montana named after the Congresswoman. The Kalispell School Board recently voted to name that district’s new school after Rankin.

The new school near Maloney Ranch, in the Lower Miller Creek area, will replace the existing Cold Spring Elementary School.

MTN’s Kent Luetzen