BRSU kids plunge into naming rights for community snowplows

Flood Brook students pose with their snowplow, which they named. Click any photo to launch the gallery. All photos provided.

By Robert J. Niles

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name?” Turns out a whole lot. For Vermont’s Agency of Transportation, granting schools the opportunity to name a snowplow that clears roads in their community was a chance for students to have fun, be creative, take pride in their state and celebrate the coming of winter at their school.

Second graders at the Flood Brook School, which serves Peru, Landgrove, Londonderry and Weston, summed up their delight in a letter to Amy Tatko of the Vermont Agency of Transportation:  “We are so excited about our snow plow and can’t wait for it to snow. We are doing snow dances at recess!”

FBS is one of three Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union schools that stepped up to name a snowplow. Joining in the fun were the Currier Memorial School, serving Danby and Mount Tabor and the Mettawee Community School with students from Pawlet and Rupert. Across the state, 163 snowplow will feature name plates with new identities.

Currier Memorial students with The Snow Hunter.

Each BRSU school approached the challenge in its own way. At Currier, every class in the K-5 school conducted brainstorming sessions to create a possible name for their plow. “To give the kids some focus, we reminded them to think about their audience,” says Currier Principal Carolyn Parillo. “We wanted a name that would speak to both Vermont and the task at hand, keeping our local roads safe.” The proposals for each class were placed on a ballot and everyone in the school, both students and staff, voted. “Hunting is a popular pastime in Vermont and it is something many of our students are familiar with,” explains Parillo, “and the plow takes snow off the roads.” So, of course, Currier’s decision: Snow Hunter.

At MCS, a small group directed by art teacher Amy Harris was asked to brainstorm three names. “They wanted the word Mettawee to be featured in each selection,” says Principal Brooke DeBonis. The choices up for a vote by all students and staff were: Mighty Mettawee Mogul Monster, Mettawee Gnarly Powder Pusher and the winning vote-getter: the Mettawee Mountain Mover.

Mettawee instructor Mandy Thomas and her fifth-grade students showcase the Might Mettawee Mountain Mover.

At Flood Brook, the second graders volunteered to handle the task of naming the plow for the whole school. Their process focused on coming up with descriptive terms that would characterize each of the following: snowplow, Vermont and Flood Brook. Teachers Karen Steever and Jeanie Forbes asked their students to develop a list of words for each one of the three elements. The final decision: The Mighty (snowplow) Snow (Vermont) Tiger (FBS Mascot) – The Mighty Snow Tiger.

The snowplows for each school made a special onsite visit on campus to showcase the newly minted names. At each school, students posed proudly for pictures and kicked the tires of the snow removal machines. One kindergarten student best summed up their reaction. “Wow! That’s one big truck!”

So fear not the snow. The Snow Hunter, Mettawee Mountain Mover, and The Mighty Snow Tiger will be making the roads safe for everyone in the BRSU communities. And to slightly alter another Shakespeare line, this will not be “the winter of discontent.”

Robert J. Niles is the communications director for the Taconic & Green and Mettawee School District

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