Naming committees appointed by the Loudoun County School Board have settled on recommended and alternate names for two Dulles area elementary schools set to open in fall 2021.
Both 10-person committees were appointed Oct. 8 and comprise Loudoun County Public Schools staff, parents and other community members.
The Dulles North area school, currently referred to as ES-23, is in the Arcola Center development off Evergreen Mills Road, while ES-29, the Dulles South school, will be co-located on the current site of Lightridge High School off Lightridge Farm Road.
Each committee met twice after being appointed to discuss names for the new schools. During the meetings, members of the public were permitted to address the committees and name suggestions submitted by citizens were conveyed to committee members.
After dozens of names were suggested via email, each committee narrowed its options down to one official recommendation and two alternate recommendations.
Some suggestions from citizenry referred to deceased persons who affected the county, such as James Monroe, or were simple one-word titles like Liberty or Justice. A few were farcical in nature — Schooly McSchoolface North, for example.
Official name recommendations and alternate names were presented as information items at the board's Dec. 4 meeting.
The ES-23 naming committee recommended Arcola Spring Elementary School, presenting Gum Spring Elementary School as a first alternate and Elaine E. Thompson Elementary School as a second alternate.
According to the information item, the name Arcola Spring honors the "historic community of Arcola near which this new school will be situated,” the importance of the Gum Spring – which fed into the Broad Run waterway – and the school's adjacency to the Arcola Slave Quarters, a registered historic landmark.
"Loudoun promotes life-long learning with an eye on the historic contributions of those who have gone before us. Arcola Spring Elementary School will bring history and an eye toward the future in this area of the county," the information item reads.
Manahoac Elementary School is the official recommended name for ES-29, while the two alternates include Hovatter Elementary School and — as with ES-23 — Elaine E. Thompson Elementary School.
The suggestion refers to a group of roughly 1,500 Siouan-speaking Native Americans called the Manahoac which, according to the information item, inhabited the area at the time of European settlement.
Elaine E. Thompson, the namesake of alternate suggestions for both schools, was a lifelong Loudouner whose donation to the National Museum of African American History and Culture "brought Loudoun County to national prominence," per the ES-23 item. Thompson passed away on Oct. 9, 2016.
Hovatter Farm, a 151-acre property that was located on the ES-29 site before being purchased by the county in 2017, inspired the other alternate name for ES-29.
Official names are expected to be chosen on Jan. 14, 2020, during the first meeting of the 2020-2023 School Board.