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SCHOOL NAMING SPARKS CREATIVITY

Residents offer up everything from the historical to the whimsical.

It can't do worse than its present name.

Like an orphan left on the doorstep, Hernando County's newest school is making its way into the world with a proverbial Jane Doe of a title: Elementary J.

By the time the 2,100-student school opens this August for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, officials hope to give it a name with a little inspirational oomph.

Turns out folks have all sorts of suggestions.

Some offer tried-and-true, historical heroes. Neil Armstrong, Hernando DeSoto, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and famed African-American educator Mary Macleod Bethune all get support in recent e-mails to a School Board subcommittee.

A few go even further back in time, while others suggest a man-on-the-street approach. Across the ages, Joan of Arc bumps up on the list next to the humbly named Joey K-8.

Jessica Lunsford, the Citrus County 9-year-old who was murdered in 2005, gets a mention.

Home-proud residents suggest naming the school after Florida, Spring Hill, or Weeki Wachee. And don't forget Gator K-8.

In times of war, a few want Veterans Memorial K-8, Enduring Freedom K-8, or perhaps a tribute to fallen Hernando sons like Army Pfc. Cody Grater, Staff Sgt. Michael W. Schafer, and Marine Sgt. Lea Mills.

A few are downright silly. Power Line K-8, anyone? Try Neverland, or perhaps the Classic Tiger School.

One correspondent, perhaps hoping to influence a national election or curry favor from a future president, opts for a candidate. Make that Rudy Giuliani Public K-8.

There are even a few votes for newly retired school superintendent Wendy Tellone and her husband, Michael.

Tonight at 7, a subcommittee will hear public suggestions in the School Board meeting room at 919 N Broad St., and begin culling a growing list of around 150 school names. It plans to forward a list of three finalists to the board by month's end.

Suggestions also can be e-mailed to namethatschool@hcsb.k12.fl.us.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

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