KAYSVILLE -- To the loud cheer of "Go Eagles," dignitaries including Mayor Steve Hiatt and Congressman Rob Bishop cut a ribbon and officially changed the name of Oquirrh Mountain Charter School to Jefferson Academy.
Almost 700 students from kindergarten to ninth grade gathered for the name change celebration Wednesday at the Kaysville school.
Principal Dr. Gregory Cox said officials had three reasons to change the name of the school.
The first reason is because the group that had originally set up the charter school also held the copyright to the school's website, Cox said.
The second reason is the school wants to attract local students but many residents thought the school was actually near the Oquirrh Mountains, not on Angel Street in west Kaysville, Cox said.
The third and most important reason is school officials want the name to reflect the school's mission, which is history, he said.
The school's sloganis stenciled on its foyer wall: "We are to empower students to be stewards of great scholarship, citizenship and moral excellence, and who will lead and move the cause of liberty."
Cox said it is appropriate to name the school after one of the country's Founding Fathers and the author of the Declaration of Independence.
Bishop, the keynote speaker of the celebration, told students Jefferson, who was also the country's third president, put many ideas in the first third of the Declaration of Independence. He challenged them to study it.
He also pointed out that the students, along with other children their ages, will be the "next generation of heroes," on whom the country will call to defend it from its enemies.
"We have the greatest country here on this earth," Bishop said, "and there are still people in other countries who hate us."
Bishop told students they need to be prepared to lead the country and to "learn the words" of the Declaration of Independence.