RUTLAND — What’s in a name? It could be an ice-cream party if you were a classmate of 8-year-old Jared McGee.
McGee, a third-grader at West Rutland School, along with Dillon Brigham, 9, a fourth-grader at Danville School, came up with the winning suggestion in the contest to name the animatronic cow that occupies the lobby of Green Mountain Power’s Energy Innovation Center in Rutland.
The name, which McGee and Brigham submitted independently, is Electra.
“I thought of electricity and I thought of a girl’s name,” McGee said.
Brigham said he followed roughly the same thought process.
Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation, said the name was overwhelmingly the choice of the selection committee who judged the 170 entries. He said he liked that the name had connotations in Greek of brightness and radiance, fitting into the company’s focus on solar power.
“There was a lot of typical cow names — Flossie, Betsy, I think there was a Bessie,” Costello said. “Flower, Sunshine, Beefaroni, Patty — you know, cow patty.”
Costello said his personal favorite, Methena, was soundly shouted down.
“Some of the classes did some interesting stuff,” Costello said. “Some of the teachers had them write a letter saying not just what the name was, but why they chose it. Some of those were really cute.”
Electra stands in a pen — complete with hay and some spots of manure toward the back — among the other educational displays in the Energy Innovation Center. When activated, Electra talks about GMP’s Cow Power program, which places equipment on Vermont farms to convert manure into electricity.
While Brigham’s classmates got to hear a talk on Cow Power using remote video technology, Brigham himself was on hand to join McGee’s class for the ice cream party. Costello said organizers briefly considered changing it to a hot-chocolate party because of the subzero weather.
“I don’t think kids care how cold it is,” he said. “They were happy to have ice cream.”
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