Education

Manatee school board will vote to rename North River High. Here are the nominations

Naming period opens for new Parrish-area high school

Town hall gathering at Buffalo Creek Middle School gives residents an opportunity to suggest names for school and to ask questions.
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Town hall gathering at Buffalo Creek Middle School gives residents an opportunity to suggest names for school and to ask questions.

The School Board of Manatee County will review at least 33 nominations during the renaming of North River High School, in Parrish, during its meeting Tuesday night at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Expecting a large crowd, board members chose to gather at the convention center, 1 Haben Blvd., in Palmetto. The board workshop starts at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, while the regular meeting and the renaming process are scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

The Parrish Civic Association will hold a tailgate with food at 4:30 p.m. Its president, Gretchen Fowler, led the charge to rename Manatee’s newest high school.

There were nearly three dozen nominations, including a handful of joke submissions, as of Monday morning:

  • Charlie Kennedy
  • Charlie Kennedy Magnet
  • Cooper Matthew Corley
  • Crawford High
  • David Bailey
  • Donald John Trump
  • Fort Hamer
  • Fort Hamer Hood
  • Louis Agassiz
  • Mike Barber
  • Miner
  • Northeast
  • North Palmetto
  • North Parrish
  • North River
  • Northern River
  • Parrish Central
  • Parrish Community
  • Parrish
  • Parrish North River
  • Parrish Regional
  • Parrish Senior
  • Parrish View
  • Parrish Village
  • Parrish West
  • Pat Mullins
  • Raymond F. Lee
  • Riverside
  • Schooly McSchoolface
  • Tammy Hooper
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Wesley C. Choate
  • Crawford P. Parrish High School

The School District of Manatee County will accept nominations before and during the public hearing on Tuesday evening.

Residents can suggest a name by emailing communications@manateeschools.net, or by visiting the School Support Center, 215 Manatee Ave. W., in Bradenton.

Board members previously considered 60 names between 274 nominations. The board reviewed three finalists — North River, Oak Hill or Parrish High — and then approved North River in August 2017.

The Parrish community petitioned to change the name from North River, a generic name in the eyes of many residents, to something more reflective of the community, such as Parrish High School.

They recently gathered more than 2,000 signatures between in-person and online petitions, according to Fowler.

Residents faced opposition from the Manatee County NAACP, which decried the name and its link to a former slave owner, Crawford Parrish. And the Neal family, which is developing a large community with the name of North River Ranch, said it relied on the school’s name to make business decisions.

In response, Fowler previously said the name should reflect Parrish and its residents, not the sins of their ancestors or the interests of local developers.

“It’s all been about the community coming together, and we don’t want to be divided,” she said on Monday. “We want people to support each other.”

Board members agreed to start the renaming process on Aug. 21 and to hold the vote on Tuesday, allowing for six months of community input before renaming the school, as district policy requires.

The school is being constructed near the Copperstone community, with an opening date in August. Faced with five options for a mascot (Bulls, Otters, Rattlers, Moccasins and Ospreys), incoming students voted on the North River Bulls.

Craig Little, the head of Lakewood Ranch High School since 2014, will lead the new school as its principal.

Giuseppe Sabella, education reporter for the Bradenton Herald, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He spent time at the Independent Florida Alligator, the Gainesville Sun and the Florida Times-Union. His coverage of education in Manatee County earned him a first place prize in the Florida Society of News Editors’ 2019 Journalism Contest. Giuseppe also spent one year in Charleston, W.Va., earning a first-place award for investigative reporting.
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