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Les Paul Middle School? District Asked to Name School for Waukesha Guitar Great

A committee is being formed to consider the request.

A request from the Les Paul Foundation to name a school for Waukesha’s hometown guitar legend has the Waukesha School District looking into the possibility.

Superintendent Todd Gray said that he received the request from Sue Baker of the Les Paul Foundation. Baker cited Les Paul’s attendance at Waukesha schools as one reason for the district to consider the request.

Les Paul, born and raised in Waukesha as Lester Polsfuss, attended the Barstow School and Waukesha’s junior and high schools, now Central Middle School. He grew into a legendary guitarist and electronics innovator known as the “Wizard of Waukesha.”

Gray said the district will be forming a committee to consider the request, following district policy in such matters.

One of the suggestions from the foundation was to rename Central Middle School for Les Paul; however Gray said a fine arts charter school, which is being considered for the district but is at least a year off, might be a more appropriate choice.

Paul died in August 2009 and is buried in the Prairie Home Cemetery. Paul's connection to Waukesha was the driving force for Gibson Guitars to name Waukesha a Gibson GuitarTown last summer.

Paul is famous for the Les Paul Model Gibson guitar, which became “the driving force behind the sweeping changes in popular music of the late 20th century, powering everything from blues and Southern rock to alternative and metal. Paul also accelerated the advancement of studio recording through innovations such as sound-on-sound, overdubbing, reverberation effects and multi-tracking,” according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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