SANTA CLARITA — William S. Hart Union School District is learning what's in a name for its two new campuses.
Dozens of suggestions have poured in from parents, teachers and students during the past few weeks for the Valencia high school and Canyon Country junior high school scheduled to open next fall.
Most followed the district's preference for a Spanish name for the junior high school--in keeping with the existing Arroyo Seco, Sierra Vista and Placerita schools--and a geographic-based name for the high school, like Saugus and Canyon high schools.
But some took to the task with an apparent sense of humor.
There was Escuela Nueva (New School) and Rideview, thought initially to be a reference to the nearby Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park but which turned out to be a misspelling of Ridgeview.
Among the names proposed for the middle school near the intersection of Rainbow Glen Drive and Via Princessa are Rainbow Mesa, Paseo Verde, Golden Oak and River Rock. Suggestions for the high school near the Valencia Industrial Center and west of the Northbridge housing tract include Northbridge, Oakbridge, Riverbridge, Industrial and Mountain.
An advisory committee, consisting of administrators for the new schools and residents, is scheduled to meet Tuesday to whittle down the list and make a Dec. 8 recommendation to the Hart board of trustees.
Although the committee has no plans to name either of the new schools after people, former Hart Supt. Clyde Smythe, newspaperman Scott Newhall, labor leader Cesar Chavez and U. S. Army Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale were among the suggestions received.
Would attending Rideview High School remind students that they are stuck in a classroom only a few minutes away from Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park? Could enrollment at Scott Newhall High School prompt a teen-ager to imitate the flamboyant writer?
No, district officials concede, but a school's name is an important first step nonetheless.
"Some of the decisions about a school are driven in part by the name," said Lew White, district facilities coordinator. "The contractor that is doing the (high) school has prodded us."
Later decisions such as colors and a mascot can't be chosen until a name is picked, and construction details including the gymnasium floor and campus signage are influenced by a school's moniker.
"The Hart School Board realizes that a very important aspect of the character and fiber of a new school is to establish its identity," said Supt. Walt Swanson. "The name of a school creates a foundation and image on which colors, mascots, mottoes and songs are built. Even physical design elements and color schemes are influenced by the name."