Lately, I've been noticing the newly-built/renamed schools' names are becoming more and more boring and meaningless.

The most recently named school in my area sounds very much like something one might call a newly built mall.

Do people not bother to come up with a decent name nowadays, or is there just nothing to call new schools anymore?

That being said, another school was built a couple years earlier, and it has a very nice name, with a strong meaning. So maybe it was just this one school.

Did anyone else come across this where they live?



November 20, 2012 7:35 PM

Oh my gosh, yes! From what I understand schools here can't be named after a city or a person, which basically just leaves a bunch of natural features to choose from.  We joke about school namers throwing flora names into one hat and geologic features into another and just putting them together. It makes it very hard to remember which school is which.

By Tana
November 20, 2012 8:32 PM

I haven't heard of a re-named or brand new school for 10+ years, so it's interesting to me that in some places there are enough of these for there to be trends in how they're named! 

The most recent new school that I can remember was new in the late 90s/early 00sAlthough it was named after a natural feature, it was one that made sense, since it was named after a good size river that runs through the city the school is in and a lot of other things in the city are also named after the river.  The city's name itself was already being used for both the public and private high schools, and all of the famous people associated with the city already had elementary schools named after them, so the river seemed like a good choice to me.  If I hadn't grown up in the city and known the context, though, I can see how it might have seemed shopping mall/housing development-ish.

By mk
November 20, 2012 11:02 PM

Some schools in my area have closed, nothing is being built or renamed. The schools that do exist are simply named for the street they are on (as were the schools in my hometown). I can't think of any really interesting ones.

I like seeing Catholic schools named after obscure saints and always wonder why that saint was chosen.

November 21, 2012 1:21 AM

The town that I grew up in, all the schools were named after famous people, mostly presidents or well known writers and other public figures. Where I live now, the schools are mostly named after the neighborhood in which they are located, with some presidential names too. But yes, I love Catholic School names too:

Our Lady Star of the Sea

St. Philomena

Holy Rosary



Queen of Angels

seriously, so great!


November 21, 2012 11:39 AM

Great names! We have a St Gregory the Great and a St Bede's nearby.

By mk
November 21, 2012 6:50 PM

Prince of Peace

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Wisdom

Stella Maris

Saint Aloysius

Saint Bernard!


November 21, 2012 2:20 AM

I'm in the "new schools??" camp -- I haven't so much as heard of a new school being built and named since, well, ever.

In the school district where I grew up, all the elementary and intermediate schools were trees or shrubs, but the high schools were just the names of the towns they were in. Where we live now, all the schools are named for where they are: the high schools are "name-of-town East" and "name-of-town West", and the local elementary school is "name-of-township Heights" (it's at the highest elevation in said township), for example.

November 21, 2012 8:46 AM

How fascinating! There are so many schools being built here that it's very difficult to keep up. The neighboring county is putting up schools at a pace such that an elementary school student is likely to be rezoned at least once during her six years in the lower grades. By and large, the names are boring.

By EVie
November 21, 2012 12:26 PM

I grew up in New York where there are a ridiculous number of schools, and yes, new schools are being formed all the time (particularly because the city is on a shut-down-failing-schools-and-create-new-ones-in-their-place kick). I remember a lot of the high schools being named after famous people, a lot of which ended up being really boring and generic sounding (seriously, there must be dozens and dozens of Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy High Schools across the country). Occasionally there are some cool ones that are more evocative of the city's history, like Stuyvesant, LaGuardia, Washington Irving. A lot of other schools are named for the neighborhoods they're in (Midwood, Tottenville). And a lot of others just have kind of generic names (Staten Island Tech, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx High School of Science). And I would say the majority of elementary and middles schools just have numbers (e.g. P.S. 12), though some of them also have names. 

I'm still not over them renaming the Triborough Bridge the Robert F. Kennedy/RFK Bridge. Not cool, dudes! Triborough was a totally unique, catchy-sounding name that perfectly described it and would be hard to apply to anything else. Now it sounds just as generic as all those high schools. I refuse to use the new name.

I come across a lot of high school names in my day job, and I actually kind of like the natural features ones. They sound so pleasant! I also agree that the Catholic school names are really fun.

By mk
November 21, 2012 6:41 PM

I had no idea they renamed the Triborough Bridge! I have yet to hear anyone use the new name.


November 25, 2012 4:17 PM

How do you feel about the Queensboro Bridge becoming the Ed Koch Bridge? I feel like it's especially weird because he's alive. As far as schools go, there are some with acronyms as well as the numbered and people-named schools.

By EVie
November 25, 2012 4:46 PM

Ugh, I didn't even know that they had renamed the Queensboro Bridge (although I never called it that, either—to me it was always the 59th Street Bridge, and I get the Simon & Garfunkel song stuck in my head every time I think about it). I don't mind them naming after Ed Koch as much as RFK, though, because he's such an iconic NYC character and he plays a much more prominent role in the city's history. I know RFK was a New York State senator, but he's not a figure that I associate very strongly with the city, even if he was involved in couple of relevant projects. I tend to associate the Kennedys most strongly with Massachussetts, and even at the time, RFK was seen as somewhat of a carpetbagger. From a naming perspective, even though I generally support Kennedy family politics, I just think their name is way overused in public works. (Did you know that JFK Airport was originally called Idlewild Airport? I think that's the coolest name, and it's such a shame that it was changed. Of course, it went through a couple decades of being called Anderson Airport/Anderson Field in between Idlewild and JFK). 

December 1, 2012 4:34 PM

I always forget that the Queensboro Bridge is the 59th Street Bridge, but I love the song.

I'm pretty sure the first time I'd ever heard about Idlewild Airport was in the Twilight Zone episode "The Odyssey of Flight 33," where Flight 33 begins travelling into the past; my dad had to explain that it was JFK. I agree that it's a much cooler name and definitely better than Anderson!

By hyz
November 21, 2012 2:14 PM

They certainly do not follow this "no cities or famous people" rule where I live.  One public school was recently renamed in honor of Obama. 

November 27, 2012 12:48 PM

Same here!  I'm guessing it's a popular renaming option these days. 

December 1, 2012 6:23 PM

Schools in my area are all namd after the street they are named on, with the exception of 1 elementary school and the middle school.  The elementary name doesn't have anything to do with where it is, nor does it have any historical significance that I am aware of.  The middle school is named after a deceased person who was somehow affiliated with the school district.  I'm honestly not sure if he was a school board member or former principal or what.  

The schools where I grew up followed similar patter, with my first elementary (grades 1-3) school being named after the first superintendent of the local school board.  All the others were named after local features (an historical fort, nearby park, etc).

I once read an argument that some communities are getting away from naming after people for fear of the name becoming tainted.  The author argued that even naming after already deceased people can be problematic as history can sometimes reveal some very unflattering aspects years later.  The specific examples cited were JFK and Martin Luther King Jr.  


December 9, 2012 9:06 AM

every day i pass a church named St.Paul In Chains. that evokes such a strong visual image to me that is very unpleasant and startling.

December 9, 2012 3:50 PM

Goodness, yes!

For a more fun image, I like St Andrew by the Wardrobe.

December 9, 2012 6:08 PM

Are you sure it's St. Paul in Chains?  I believe it should be St. Peter in Chains (St. Peter ad Vincula).  This refers to a passage in which St. Peter is imprisoned by Herod and is released by an angel.  There are numerous churches in many countries dedicated to St. Peter in Chains, including the Chapel Royal in the Tower in London (a rather appropriate dedication when you come to think of it).  The relics of St. Peter's chains are kept on the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, the first church to have that dedication.

December 9, 2012 11:53 PM

All of the schools in my local district have View in their name, which can evoke nice images - ie. 0ak View and Mead0w View (despite the lack of oaks and meadows) or be just plain ridiculous - ie. C!rcle View

My favorite was V!sta View.  While vista is a legit word in English, it was a school with a high level of spanish-speaking students, and translates to View View.  I never quite understood the planning that went into that one...

July 18, 2013 12:50 PM

Actually I've never paid much attention on what makes a good school name but now that you mention about it I realize how important this aspect can be since some names sound more trustful than other. In my case the Northwestern State name gives me a high level of confidence.