by Melissa Gute

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ newest elementary school, set to open in August, will soon have a name of its own.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 26 suggestions from the community, according to Raymond Giovanelli, principal at J.V. Washam Elementary School. He will become principal of the Stumptown Road school.

Giovanelli held two drop-in events, on Feb. 4 and Feb. 12, at Northeast Learning Center to receive public input on what the school should be called.

Though neither event drew much participation, Giovanelli said he’s received a lot of suggestions via email.

Reluctant to give out any possible names before they went to an advisory committee, Giovanelli said many were tied to a distinctive tree in front of the new school. He didn’t know of any special significance the tree might have, but did say it catches eyes.

“Before I even applied for the position, I noticed it,” he said. “I’ve been calling it the learning tree.”

Other suggestions tie into neighborhoods around the school, and there aren’t many that connect with a historical person, Giovanelli said.

An advisory committee consisting of more than a dozen community members – the police department, fire department, local churches and teachers – will meet on Feb. 19. At that time, Giovanelli said he hopes to have three recommendations to send the CMS school board, who will make the official decision.

A name is important to a school, but it’s only a start, Giovanelli said.

“Though it’s important, I think it’s more important with what you do after the naming is done, how you bring community together, how you work as a school and community to rally around what that name is,” he said.

The 39-classroom new school is being built to relieve the overcrowded Torrence Creek Elementary School, where many of its students are taught in mobile units.