I went to A.P. Leto High School in suburban Tampa, Florida. Who was A.P. Leto? I haven’t the slightest clue. Did it matter much to the students? Not really. I suppose it would have been cool if our school was named for the geographic town or community in which we lived, but it wasn’t. Would we have formed a better community had the school been named differently? Probably not.
I got excited when I discovered this new local blog, the New Milton High School Blog run by Andy Young. (Seriously, I do get excited by new blogs). It’s about the new high school being built along Bethany Bend in Milton. Construction is progressing fast. Miltonites are starting to ponder names for the school, thus the new blog’s very focused theme. The author supports the notion that the new high school should have the word “Milton” somewhere in the name. Does it matter? What’s behind this idea?
New City Identity
I’ve written a few times about how I think Johns Creek and Milton struggle to establish identity for themselves. It manifests itself in issues like new zip codes. I think the high school is no different. The boundaries for the school have not been set but there is a good chance that most students will live within the city limits of Milton. I say most but I’ll bet you can find some from Alpharetta. Nevertheless, this is a chance for Miltonites to find yet another way to identify themselves. That might not be possible if the school were to be called something else.
Piggyback on the Milton HS Prestige
Let’s face it, Milton High School is an awesome school. They rank nationally in many areas; academics, athletics, arts, etc. It would be a bummer to have middle school-aged kids today, knowing that they might miss a chance to go to Milton HS. The next best thing might be to create a “North Milton” and “South Milton”. That’s an idea being kicked around on the blog. Which one gets which designation isn’t clear. I find it interesting that both schools are geographically east/west of each other. I don’t know why this north/south divide is popular now.
Would it be fair to the current Milton High School to change their name? The school has a rich history dating back to 1921, a little bit before the creation of the city of Milton (duh). After all, the school was named for Milton County. I’d imagine suggesting a name change of ninety year old school would be met with some resistance. That fight will be fun to watch from the sidelines.
Does it Really Matter?
High school is a formative time for children. Like I mentioned above, students will bond around their high school regardless of the name.
I contend that the new high school, whatever it is called, will be an academically terrific school. I wrote back in October that good parents raise smart kids which create good schools. That will most certainly be the case with the new school. The name or boundary are immaterial.
So what’s my take on the name? I don’t have an opinion one way or another. It will be interesting to see what political pressure the Milton residents bring over this, if any. Will it matter, considering that they realistically don’t get much of a say? At the end of the day I think parents will care more about how the district lines are drawn. I expect some in Milton will seek for the school’s boundaries to closely match those of Milton’s jagged city limits. It’s all about identity in Milton.