DENVER (CBS4)– Denver School of Science and Technology’s original campus is ditching part of its name it sees as linked to the Ku Klux Klan. Former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton was a member of the KKK and had appointed Klan members in his administration.
Thursday morning, DSST: Stapleton announced their campus, located at 2000 Valencia Street in Denver, would now be known as DSST: Montview.
“We no longer go by Stapleton and I feel like that matters a lot to us because now being such a diverse school we can be more inclusive,” said 10th grader Dheman Abdullahi.
She is part of a group of students who lead the charge to change the name of their school.
“This was a really long process, two years of hard work and students never lost their dedication and ambition to continuously work on this,” she said.
The school says more than 600 students were a part of the two-year process which included essays arguing both to keep the name and to change it, as well as a survey. The results revealed a majority of students wanted the name to change.
It became a lesson in perseverance.
“I knew I wanted my voice to be heard and then I knew that if I stuck through it and stuck on the project, I knew mine and some of my friends’ voices would be heard at some point,” said 8th grader Henoc Mahary.
He said finding their voice, and then having it matter was empowering.
“You rarely hear students making the change, you usually hear the adults, so this is a huge milestone,” he said.
The students hope this will serve as an example of what a group of concerned citizens can accomplish together, no matter their gender, ethnicity or age.
“We wanted to go public with this and show everybody, not just Colorado, but nationwide that change is possible and that youth does have a voice and it does have power,” said Dheman.
“My hope for the future is that other kids that think that they are not able to do this, you are able to, you just need a little help,” added Henoc.
The students hope this will serve as a catalyst to change the name of the entire neighborhood as well. They suggest calling it the Central Park neighborhood.