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FLANAGAN - Flanagan-Cornell Unit 74 and its Flanagan-Cornell High School are about to join the ranks of Illinois schools, combining both the names and even the numbers of the merging districts.

The Flanagan school board has unanimously approved the new name to reflect the merger of Cornell Community High School District 70 and Flanagan Community Unit District 4, which voters approved in a Feb. 5 resolution.

"When the Committee of Ten (the merger steering group) was established, we felt both communities should be represented in the name of the new district," Flanagan Superintendent Jerry Farris said. "At the same time, adults' perspective is sometimes different than the students, so we wanted to get input from the students and community members."

Public opinion was sought, and students in fifth through eighth grades and high school were surveyed, he said.

"In all three school groups, the most votes were for Flanagan-Cornell High School," Farris said.

Cornell high school students have been going to Flanagan High School for about 20 years. The Cornell high school district has been deactivated, paying tuition to send its students Flanagan, a unit district with students in elementary through high school grades.

Cornell's separate grade school district was not involved in the merger effort.

Farris said he believes people are satisfied with the education the high school has provided both communities over the last 20 years, which he credits to the students, parents, school board members and residents.

"I'll be the first to tell you how proud I am of these students," Farris said. "The athletic and academic success of this school tells the story of expectations, commitment and pride. In order for this to continue, we need these groups to remain in unity."

Having each community represented in the name of the school and its district will give deserved recognition to Cornell, he said.

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