School will be Explorer

The School Board passes over finalists for the K-8 facility.

By TOM MARSHALL, Times Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007

BROOKSVILLE - Hernando County's newest school will be named after a famous Spanish explorer who forged a European path in the New World.

Or maybe not.

By a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, the School Board decided on "Explorer K-8" as the new name for the 2,100-student school under construction off Northcliffe Boulevard in Spring Hill.

Earlier in the day, board member Dianne Bonfield looked at the names offered by a subcommittee - Freedom, Independence, Northcliffe and Veterans Memorial - and found them wanting.

"Are we allowed to add to this list?" Bonfield asked.

She promptly did, suggesting Hernando DeSoto, the Spanish conquistador whose 1539 expedition to Florida got a county named after him, but not a school in that county.

Other board members were intrigued - not by her suggestion so much as the opportunity to make one of their own.

"At this point I'd like to throw in Ben Franklin," said member John Sweeney.

Board member Pat Fagan spoke up for Eleanor Roosevelt.

And Chairwoman Sandra Nicholson made a plea for geographical precision.

"A lot of people to this day don't know that school is out there," Nicholson said. "Going with Northcliffe K-8, it would help people finding it."

The board subcommittee's list of names had swelled past 150 this fall, with submissions from every school and the Internet. Someone even suggested naming the school after Rudy Giuliani

By the end of the night, Bonfield had recanted a bit, after someone noted that the conquistadors' records weren't uniformly nice.

Explorer K-8 struck every board member but Nicholson as the best option. A bit ambiguous, perhaps, but positive. When the school opens in August, every student will be an Explorer.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or 352 848-1431.