What's in a name?

What's in a name?

October 19th, 2009 by Kelly Jackson in Georgia

VARNELL, Ga. - Seven-year-old Shelby Owens voted for Varnell High School, even though her older brother and sister, 8-year-old twins Trevor and Payton, voted for Northeast Whitfield High School.

The Whitfield County school district asked the public to suggest the name of the new high school being built on Crow Road. The board will review suggestions at its Oct. 26 work session and announce the name Nov. 2.

Under whatever name is chosen, all three children eventually will attend the school.

"She wanted Varnell because she loves Varnell," said Shelby's father, Chris Owens. "It's pretty cool to let them be involved and have input to some extent. It makes them feel important."

School board member John Thomas said the board also asked for community help in naming Cedar Ridge Elementary, which opened this year.

"We just felt like the more suggestions, the better," Mr. Thomas said. "It shouldn't just be left up to the five-member school board to pick a name."

The new school will eventually be home to about 1,200 students and is expected to open in 2011, he said.

Varnell Mayor Dan Peeples sent out an e-mail last week to city residents, advocating - like young Shelby - that the new school bear the Varnell name.

"That's just my opinion," Mr. Peeples said. "It's closer to Varnell than it is any other named area. It's less than a mile away from our city limits."

Plus, he said, it's one more way to promote the city.

There are plenty of other suggestions floating around, including Cohutta, Beaverdale and Prater's Mill.

School board member Thomas Barton said the name Prater's Mill carries historic significance.

"You want your community to embrace it (the new school) and you want them to feel part of it," he said.

Rebecca Brown, personnel secretary with Murray County schools, said community members voted to call their new high school North Murray High when it opened this year. Catoosa County residents also helped name Heritage High School, which opened in 2008.

It's a typical practice in North Georgia counties when adding a new school, she said.