The young women with whom I attended Catherine McAuley High School were empowered. They were bold and enthusiastic and motivated. They were young women – not girls.

When I learned that my alma mater would be renamed and relaunched with a focus on math, technology and science, I thought, “brilliant.” How about “Rachel Carson High School”? “Margaret Mead Academy” has a nice ring to it. Let’s consider “Margaret Chase Smith High School” to honor the power of Maine women. Yes, women.

Instead I read about The Maine Girls’ Academy and thought, “Are they relaunching as a penitentiary?”

A friend recently visited Bar Harbor and happened upon a store with a name that rubbed him the wrong way. It had a sign above the entrance with one word: “Gifts.”

Names that are generic are forgotten. This name is unfortunate for any institution of learning that purports to espouse the values McAuley did. It is unacceptable for this school to strip away the name of a woman for something so ordinary.

The name “Catherine McAuley” stood for encouraging women through education. Can the same be said of MGA (the even blander iteration of the name that the administration is pushing)? Those in charge should consider the responsibility they have to shape the next generation of successful Maine women. To take a line from “Hamilton”: “If you stand for nothing, what’ll you fall for?”

Theo Balcomb

Class of 2005, Catherine McAuley High School

Washington, D.C.