Queen Creek school names would honor community leaders - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Queen Creek school names would honor community leaders

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Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 1:02 am | Updated: 8:01 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Queen Creek school board is expected tonight to name its next two schools after pioneering community members.

If approved, the Queen Creek Unified School District’s next two schools will be named Newell Barney Middle School and Faith Sossaman Elementary School.

“ We want to tell the history of the school district and of the community through the citizens that helped develop the community of Queen Creek and the Queen Creek school district,” governing board member Dale Hancock said.

Hancock said Barney is a “historical figure in the Queen Creek farming and agricultural community.”

Barney, 82, served on the school board from 1960 through 1978 and spent more than four decades involved with youth activities, such as Boy Scouts.

“He supported the school district with donations of various kinds, sometimes money, sometime equipment or various services,” Hancock said.

Barney, a World War II veteran, has also given jobs to students to help them complete their education.

A native Arizonan, Barney grew up in Safford and moved to Queen Creek 60 years ago. His seven children, 40 grandchildren and many of his 53 great-grandchildren have attended Queen Creek schools.

Barney said he never thought he’d be considered to have a school named after him. “It’s quite an honor, that’s for sure,” he said.

Faith Sossaman lived in Queen Creek for 82 years and died in 2003 at age 99.

She went to Chandler High School and Tempe Normal School, now Arizona State University. She began teaching at Queen Creek Elementary School in 1932.

“She was particularly skilled for teaching farm migrant children,” Hancock said. “She had a very strong compassion for them.”

Sossaman and her husband Jasper had one son and three grandchildren. Her son James and grandson Steven both served on the Queen Creek school board.

“I think it’s a very nice honor for not only our family, but to remember her and some of the early pioneers that helped get Queen Creek started,” James Sossaman said of having a school named after his mother.

He said his mother started the first school cafeteria during the Depression.

“My mom would bring the meat,” he said. “She would ask each student that could to bring a potato, carrot, pasta, whatever they had at home. At least once a week, sometimes two, she would make this big stew and they had a hot lunch.”

Steve Sossaman said some students weren’t getting milk, so his grandmother bought a cow — the start of a dairy his family kept for many years.

“Both of my grandparents (were) very much pioneering in farming and education,” he said.

The district’s next middle school will be at the northeast corner of Sossaman and Riggs roads and is scheduled to open in summer 2008. The next elementary school is expected to open in summer 2009 in the Remington Heights development west of Queen Creek and Hawes roads.

Board meeting

What: Naming the district’s next middle school and next elementary school

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Queen Creek Unified School District, 20740 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek 85242

Information: (480) 987-5935

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