BROOKSVILLE — The students have spoken: Name the district's newest K-8 school in honor of the Weeki Wachee River.
Or maybe a space shuttle.
Perhaps the cuddly sea cow.
Students in 100 classrooms at Pine Grove and Westside elementary schools, the feeder schools for the new school set to open in the fall, voted last week on a list of 10 names.
Winding Waters K-8 was an overwhelming favorite with 40 percent of the vote, said Mary-Grace Surrena, coordinator of student services.
The other two top picks: Discovery K-8, with 21 percent; and Manatee K-8, with 13 percent.
Winding Waters is one translation for what the Seminoles called the Weeki Wachee River — and that would match nicely with the new school's neighbor, Weeki Wachee High, which opened last fall.
Discovery would continue a space shuttle theme for the district's K-8 schools. Challenger K-8 and Explorer K-8 are both in Spring Hill.
The gentle manatees, of course, make appearances in the Weeki Wachee River, if not in the numbers seen in rivers and springs of Citrus County to the north.
The other seven choices students voted on were Centralia, Highlands, North Breeze, Northwest, Northside, Royal Highlands and Springs.
A committee of community members picked by the county School Board culled the 10 names from a list of 113 suggestions received from the public. The board will consider the school's name at a workshop Tuesday.
The elementary portion of the K-8 will open first, pulling students from Pine Grove and Westside. The elementary grades will then fill in the middle school portion of the school.
Then-superintendent Wayne Alexander had the board pick the mascot for Weeki Wachee High — they settled on the Hornets. But for the new K-8, superintendent Bryan Blavatt said he will recommend the board form a committee of parents and students who will attend the school to come up with ideas.
"I'd like them to take ownership of their mascot," Blavatt said. The board would still have the final say.
Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.