The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

Don’t forget the St. Margaret’s

Calling our school “Benilde” ignores its true history.

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The name of any institution holds immense significance to its history and culture. The namesake of Benilde-St. Margaret’s School, for example, demonstrates how two schools, Benilde High School and St. Margaret’s Academy, joined together in 1974. These two former high schools were named after the religious orders that created and helped run them.

As years pass, the names that honor the backstories of these institutions deteriorate; they develop nicknames to either shorten the full title or to imply another meaning. For BSM, many in both the school and larger Twin Cities communities have dubbed our school as “Benilde.” That is only half of the school’s name. Director of Alumni Relations & Community Events Mary Fran O’Keefe, who has worked at BSM since 1977, recognizes the change that has occurred in the name of BSM. “The newspapers and press are really bad at referencing the entire name, but I understand. It’s a tough one. It’s a long name,” O’Keefe said.

The lack of the consistent, proper acknowledgment of the school’s full name pays no respect to the Sisters of St. Joseph. The members of this religious order worked diligently for decades to ensure the best education for the young women who walked through the doors of this institution. Without their help, BSM would not be the college-preparatory school it is today. “The greater part of our history is St. Margaret’s Academy. From 1907 to 1974, St. Margaret’s Academy was our founding with the Sisters of St. Joseph. It’s a false misrepresentation of our history when people call our school Benilde,” O’Keefe said.

In years past, the BSM community has tried to combat this incorrect name-calling through widespread changes throughout the Twin Cities. “In the late ‘80s is when we started our big push. We wanted [the name] to all appear on one line, that the two names received equal billing. On our uniforms and in the Spirit Shop, we changed the format of how the name was inscripted.” 

From 1907 to 1974, St. Margaret’s Academy was our founding with the Sisters of St. Joseph. It’s a false misrepresentation of our history when people call our school Benilde.”

— Mary Fran O'Keefe

Although the changes made decades ago did make an impact, it is imperative that more changes are made to ensure BSM is correctly recognized today. The administration can help by making similar changes like they did in the ‘80s, but there is more our community can accomplish. If you recognize the issue of the mispronunciation of our school’s name, remember the full name of this school. Call the school BSM if you want a shorter term to use to refer to the school. Also if someone refers to the school as Benilde, don’t feel embarrassed to correct them. In order to ensure the respect the Sisters of St. Joseph deserve, we as the BSM community must circulate the true name of the institution.

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The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN
Don’t forget the St. Margaret’s