Somewhat akin to God renaming Abram as "Abraham" in order to reflect the reality of his identity as "the father of a multitude of nations", our School Board has determined that Cowman International School will this year become "Cap-Haitien Christian School". This new name is meant to reflect at a glance both who we are and where we serve.
Over the last few months, I have discovered that most people - even many of our students - have no idea where the name "Cowman" even originated. I have taught here six years now and it has never been clear to me whether the school was named after Charles Cowman (the founder of One Mission Society) or Lettie Cowman (famous author of the devotional classic, Streams in the Desert, and wife of Charles) or both.
To be certain, as news of the renaming has trickled out, the reaction has been a bit mixed. (Change is hard!) As far as I can tell, though, most opposition to the change derives from a sentimental attachment to the old, familiar name - a name that folks have rightly taken great pride in.
Nevertheless, with the school separating legally from OMS this year (a completely friendly separation at the behest of OMS), our board thought the time was ripe for a name change - a bit of a fresh start for a new era in the school's history.
Here are a few other considerations that motivated the switch:
- There is another school within walking distance of ours that is called "Charles Cowman School". This causes frequent confusion looking for our campus for the first time, especially since their name is painted across their front wall in bright, bold letters.
- The word "Cowman" is a bit tough for Haitian tongues: Creole has no "ow" sound! Plus, some students have told me that they end up translating the name into Creole very literally for their neighborhood friends and so it becomes "Neg Bef", which is sort of like saying "Guy Cow".
- Finally, in the age of the internet, we want to make it as easy as possible for anybody from anywhere around the globe to find our school.
Ultimately, though, our intention is simply to be completely up front about the fact that we are a Christ-centered school, seeking to serve Him in Cap-Haitien, Haiti.
To those who are uneasy with the name change, I can say with full confidence that the spirit and mission of Cowman School will not change, only the name. I pray that Cap-Haitien Christian School will know many years of service to the Lord in growing boys and girls into Christ-like men and women who love Him with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.
P.S. Our new logo was designed by my very talented niece, Lauren. The center of the cross lies directly over Cap-Haitien's position in Haiti's northeast. The blue circle represents the world beyond and the arrows indicate that CHCS is a place of preparation before our students are sent out to serve Him wherever He leads.