Why the school district can, and should, choose the name “Gateway High School”

Posted on August 28, 2019, 8:05 am
4 mins

An eye for an eye.

It’s not usually the kind of lesson that adults, much less education professionals, want to teach children. But when it comes to deciding what to name the new high school being built on Griffin Drive in Gateway, the Lee County School District should be forgiven if they decide to engage in a tit-for-tat with Charter Schools USA.

After LCSD board member Melisa Giovannelli ignited a firestorm on social media by suggesting the school should be named after the great Martin Luther King Jr., many of the Facebook commenters lamented that the widely preferred name of “Gateway High School” could not be chosen out of consideration for CSUSA, who named their own high school “Gateway Charter High School”.


When CSUSA opened Gateway Charter Elementary School in 2003, they gave no such consideration to the school district – who had been operating Gateway Elementary School since 1992. So why should the Lee School District avoid using the most obvious and preferred name for their new high school?

Besides, Gateway Elementary School (the public school) is located just a few hundred yards away from the high school site, with both schools being located on Griffin Drive. Having the two schools located just down the street from each other only strengthens the case for the consistent naming scheme.

Giovannelli’s MLK suggestion, first reported by the News-Press, has received a universal thumbs down from all across Lee County, and most especially within Gateway itself. Monitoring the Facebook feeds of the News-Press, Fox4, our own publication, along with the Facebook group dedicated to the high school, only 1% to 2% seem to favor the idea of naming the school after the iconic Mr. King.

Since yesterday, all kinds of interesting ideas for the name have been put forth. Some wanted to name the school after President Donald Trump or President Barack Obama. Others wanted to name it after football players such as Tom Brady or Colin Kaepernick. One man wants the school to be named after Mister T.

But for those who have shown the strongest interest in the school from the beginning – those who were there for the Gateway versus Alva battle, and the hundreds who showed up to an impromptu rally in the middle of an empty field where the school will be built – their choice is clear: the school must be named Gateway High School.

The majority of the LCSD’s high schools are named based on their geographic location: Cape Coral High School, South Fort Myers High School, Bonita Springs High School, Estero High School, the list goes on and on. Most community stakeholders in the Gateway area want to school district to maintain that practice when it comes to naming MMM.

The LCSD will be hosting an informational session on Thursday, August 29, from 6pm to 7pm at Varsity Lakes Middle School. If Giovannelli’s poorly received name idea did anything positive, it has all but guaranteed that tomorrow’s meeting will have a much higher turnout.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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