Nearly 2,000 submissions were received by the Lee County School District who invited community input in regards to what their new high school being built along Griffin Drive in Gateway should be named. The top ten names were placed under consideration by a 12 person school naming committee formed by the district.
Sadly for the 14 people who voted for the name Schooly McSchoolface High School to be the moniker of the new school, their quest was not to be. (I wrote this joke 6 hours ago but I hear another publication actually came out with something similar an hour ago.) Although with that many submissions it was expected some wouldn’t be of a serious nature.
Also not considered by the school naming committee? Harambe Memorial High School which had a handful of submissions, along with single vote submissions: Over Budget High School and Dwayne Johnson High School, named after WWE wrestler and movie star character, “The Rock”.
Among the serious-name-but-not-seriously-considered ideas? Naming the school after President Donald Trump garnered 19 votes, while President Barack Obama secured 17 votes to have the school named after him. Both of those presidents were slightly bested by General Robert E. Lee with 20 votes. The committee likely said no on all three just to avoid needless controversy.
Speaking of the committee… who was on it?
It’s been difficult gathering details but from what we have been able to discover there was plenty of representation on the committee from the school district itself, along with reps from Gateway, Lehigh Acres, Alva, the NAACP and the Hispanic business community.
In the end, the diverse committee whittled down the possible school name choices to four:
Gateway High School, which received 815 survey votes… Edison High School which received 54 votes… Martin Luther King Junior High School which received 41 votes… and Gabriela Mistral High School which received 19 votes.
Under normal circumstances it would be difficult to imagine an elected school board going against such overwhelming public favor of the name Gateway High School, but this particular board likes to go against the grain. The board is also under no obligation to accept the committee’s formal recommendation.
We saw a rumor on Facebook that the committee at one point discussed the name Gateway-Lehigh High School, since a good portion of the students at the new school will be from the Lehigh Acres community. If we’re going to do that with our schools, we’ll need to rename Riverdale to Riverdale-Gateway High School.
Also, if you live in Gateway you know that your mailing address is Fort Myers, FL. So the address is supposed to be be Gateway-Lehigh High School located in Fort Myers, FL?
And what if 17 years from now the school district reverts back to neighborhood schools?
The most widely discussed name for School MMM (the school’s designation until it is finally named) to this point has been Martin Luther King Jr High School. But for every vote in the survey to name it after MLK, the name Gateway High School received 20 votes.
In addition to the avalanche of survey results, the Gateway District’s Board of Supervisors recently passed a unanimous motion in support of the name Gateway High School.
Realistically, the naming issue should not even be in doubt, but that doubt was created by the school district board itself. The school board has now received the message from the public and that message is unmistakable: Do the right thing and name the school Gateway High School.
The committee will present their recommendation at a school board briefing meeting on October 17 at 1:00pm. Residents of Gateway are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting.