- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Ideas for the name of a new elementary school in Leonardtown set to open in two years include historical figures and land designations, St. Mary’s educators (both alive and dead), several military references and even a race horse.
Twenty-six names remain up for consideration. A dozen nominations were rejected by a naming committee because the people who submitted the ideas didn’t respond when asked to submit the proper form, while another 15 were ruled out because they did not meet specified requirements.
A school naming committee plans to narrow the list to about 10 names at a meeting scheduled this week, said Monique Marsh, one of five parent representatives on the naming committee, which also includes public school administrators.
“It was quite a lot of names,” Marsh said.
She said she enjoyed learning about the history of the area, and said the decision is a difficult one.
“The name will be with the school forever,” she said. “It means a lot.”
The committee plans to meet today, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. in the supporting services building behind Benjamin Banneker Elementary School in Loveville. Additional meetings are scheduled for Feb. 21 and 28. The meetings are open to the public.
“I don’t know if they’ll need them or not,” Brad Clements, deputy superintendent of schools and operations, said of the additional meetings.
After committee members vote on their favorites, they will forward up to three names to the superintendent, Clements said.
Then the school board will vote on a new name for the school after a public hearing held later this month or next.
The school board solicited name ideas from the public earlier this school year.
School policy says the name “should reflect the unique instructional aspects or the history of the facility or site.” Historic locations or figures and people who have made educational contributions can also be considered.
Clements said that there are probably four or five names that seem to be gaining support.
A provision in the deed that transferred the property from the Hayden family to the St. Mary’s commissioners after they bought the property states that any school built on the property should be named Woodbury, providing that the school board has no objection and that there is proof that a school named Woodbury previously existed on the property.
School administrators are researching whether a school named Woodbury existed specifically on the new school property; it is possible the Woodbury school was situated on adjacent land.
Other names still up for consideration include Clarkes Rest, Hayden, Newtown (or Newtowne), Joshua Barney, Capt. Walter Francis Duke, Ark and Dove, Heritage and Michael J. Martirano. The latter, who is the school system’s current superintendent, declined to have the school named after him.
In addition to the naming committee, a redistricting committee held its first meeting last week. That group, made up of 11 parent representatives and 11 school representatives, will help decide what neighborhoods the new school will draw from.
The committee is also considering whether to move some of the students who would eventually go to the new school to the Loveville trailer annex a year before the school opens to help relieve overcrowding at their current schools. That decision will be made later this year.