The community will have the option to choose the name they would prefer the Elemental J to be called.
The first six names are Amanecer Elementary School, Gerald Gould Elementary School, Lee Ratner Elementary School, Roberto Clemente Elementary School, Sunrise Elementary School, and Thomas Edison Elementary School.
Lee County School District spokeswoman Lauren Stillwell said the Elementary J nomination process began in December when an open inquiry was provided with two questions – what name would the community suggest? for primary school and why she thinks the name should be chosen. The survey was open for a week and received over 300 submissions.
An ad hoc committee formed with a representative from Lehigh Acres Municipal Community Services, Lehigh Kiwanis and parents from Mirror Lakes Elementary, J. Weaver Hipps Elementary School and Lehigh Acres Middle School, as well as University Services staff, as principal was not hired for the school.
The committee compared the names to make sure they met board policy and narrowed down the list so it could be sent back to the community for a vote.
The name of the school that received the most nominations was Sunrise Elementary School, the name of the boulevard leading to the school, with 45 nominations.
Roberto Clemente Elementary School, received nine nominations. Clemente, Stillwell said, was a baseball outfielder from Puerto Rico. She said he was the first player from Latin America to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“He joined the Major League in 1955 and spent 18 years with the Pittsburg Pirates. Thirteen of those years were spent in spring training at Terry Park,” said Stillwell.
Lee Ratner Elementary School received six nominations. She said that according to the Lee County government website, Lee Ratner acquired 18,000 acres of land in 1955 that would later become Lehigh Acres.
Thomas Edison Elementary School received five nominations. Stillwell said Edison Park is named after the neighborhood and that school would be named after the person.
The ad hoc committee also provided two nominations, Amanecer Elementary School and Gerald Gould Elementary School.
Stillwell said Amanecer is the Spanish word for sunrise or dawn. She said the committee thought it was a wonderful way to recognize Hispanic influence in the majority-minority district.
The committee recommended Gerald Gould because he was an early founder of Lehigh Acres and the first president of the Lehigh Corporation.
“My favorite is probably Amanecer. In fact, I really like and love that’s another word for sunrise. You get the best of both worlds doing this, but in another language and I really like that,” said Board Member Melisa Giovannelli.
With the Board’s consensus to move these six names forward, a subsequent survey will be given to the community to rank the name recommendations.
School board member Gwyn Gittens said with the digital divide in Lehigh, a paper ballot should be offered in schools to ensure they are able to contact people in the community who will be affected. by the school.
After the investigation closes, Stillwell said the ad hoc committee will review the results again on Feb. 14 and provide a primary and secondary recommendation to the board.
A school board workshop will be held Feb. 22 to discuss the recommendations and vote at the March 8 action meeting, so the school can be named before its grand opening in late March.