BROOKSVILLE — How does Highlands K-8 strike you?
What about North Breeze K-8, Northwest or Northside?
Have a soft spot for sea cows? Consider Manatee K-8.
These are half of the first round of recommendations for the name of Hernando County's newest school, set to open next door to Weeki Wachee High School along U.S. 19 in the fall.
The other five recommendations from a six-member naming committee:
• Centralia K-8
• Discovery K-8
• Royal Highlands K-8
• Springs K-8
• Winding Waters K-8
The district received 113 unique suggestions from the public in recent weeks, and the committee narrowed them down to 10. Five of the members were county residents picked by the School Board.
Students at Westside and Pine Grove elementary schools, which will feed into the new K-8, considered the 10 names and cast their votes this week.
Those votes will be tabulated next week, and the School Board will consider the top three vote-getters at a Feb. 15 workshop, said Mary-Grace Surrena, coordinator of student services and the sixth committee member.
The elementary portion of the school will open school first, with the middle school grades opening as early as 2012.
The school is on the east side of U.S. 19 about 4 miles north of State Road 50. That area was part of Centralia, a short-lived logging boomtown, and Royal Highlands is the modern name for that neighborhood.
Discovery would continue the district's space shuttle theme. Challenger K-8 and Explorer K-8 are both in Spring Hill.
And Winding Waters? That's one English translation for what the Seminole Indians called the Weeki Wachee River.
There were several suggestions to honor people — alive and dead, local and national — but the committee decided not to go that route, Surrena said.
"We didn't want anyone to feel somebody was more important than anyone else," she said.
When scanning the entire list of submitted suggestions, though, one can consider what could have been. Charlie Crist K-8, for example, or Barack Obama K-8.
The list also included the names of several late Hernando County residents, such as former NFL pro and Brooksville native Jerome Brown; Hernando Sheriff's Capt. Scott Bierwiler, who died in an auto accident in 2009; former School Board member B.A. Crum; and longtime educator Sarah Davis, who was murdered in her Brooksville home last year.
There are currently four Hernando schools named after people, all local figures: D.S. Parrott Middle School, J.D. Floyd K-8, Moton Elementary, and F.W. Springstead High. One could also count Hernando High, since Hernando County's namesake is the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto.
Some of the ideas submitted for the new K-8 would have made the choice of mascots obvious. Bears, sharks, sea turtles and sandhill cranes were all represented.
At least one person floated Mermaid K-8.
Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.