It’s hard to know where to start with this story from KXAS-TV. It illustrates
any number of proofreading lessons: how easy it is to miss a humdinger of an
error, how difficult said error can be to rectify once it has been spotted and
the potential cost involved. I think I’ll leave it to the original reporter,
A Texas elementary school is correcting a spelling mistake made when it
changed its name nearly nine years ago.
Sunrise Elementary School in Fort Worth added "McMillan" to its name in the
2003-2004 school year -- but also added an extra "i."
The school changed its name to honour its first teacher, Mrs. Mary McMillan,
who eventually became principal. A relative recently reached out to the Fort
Worth Independent School District to say it had bought an extra vowel.
Everything had the incorrect spelling of "Sunrise-McMillian" instead of
"Sunrise-McMillan," including the lettering on the building, printed signs,
vinyl congratulatory signs, logos and Facebook.
"Oh, I was kind of shocked," said Ernie Johnson, who waters the grass on
school grounds and never knew the spelling was wrong. "I hadn't paid it any
Ever since hearing from McMillan's relative, the school has been correcting
the error. But the name is in many places people easily forget, such as business
cards, visitor's passes, certificates and digital signatures embedded in
The school is taking the corrections with the right balance of seriousness
and humour. Principal Marion Mouton and his staff keep finding misspellings to
"Our day-to-day things that we just take for granted now and, as
we're coming up with it, we're seeing 'OK, that's something else we need to
fix,'" he said.
The student body as a whole hasn't been told, though some may know. Once more
misspellings are corrected, the school hopes to turn the mix-up into a teachable
moment on how to take responsibility, correct an error and move on.
When visiting her class, teacher Jouet Dotson came up with a quick brainstorm
on how to teach the new, correct spelling.
"You know how we say there's no 'i' in team?" teacher Jouet Dotson
"We could say, 'Well, [at] Sunrise-McMillan, we're a team, so
there is no 'i' in the last part of McMillan.'"
The Fort Worth ISD isn't saying how much it will cost to fix all the mistakes
but did say it's exhausting all resources to try and keep costs down.
I’ve often stated on this blog, and elsewhere on this site, that proofreaders don’t just spot spelling mistakes, they save businesses, publishers, writers, journalists and marketers from considerable blushes.
But, sometimes, spelling errors can result in more than just flushed cheeks and a little humiliation or an expensive reprint.
In the case of the Pembury War Memorial in Kent, a lack of due care and attention resulted in heartache and fury when it was discovered that the names of 8 soldiers who had lost their lives in the two world wars had been misspelled.
The names were:
Albert Mc'Queen (should be Albert McQueen)
Albert and Thomas Penticost (should be Pentecost)
Sydney Ratcliffe (should be Sidney Ratcliffe)
John Stedman (should be John Steadman)
Edward Crossley (should be Edmund Crossley)
William Parks (should be William Parkes)
John Philbeam (should be John Pilbeam)
You can read the full story over at the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-16560970
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