(A semi-serious look at naming Richmond Hill’s new high school.)
In anticipation of adding 3,500 more students over the next decade, Bryan County Schools has begun discussing plans for expansion, including the possibility of a second high school in Richmond Hill.
When I first wrote about this in April after a school board retreat on Jekyll Island, the reaction was mixed. Some commented on our Facebook page that adding a second high school would divide Richmond Hill and its sense of community spirit that stems from everyone being a “Wildcat.”
But it will happen. It’s just a matter of when. So that means it’s not too early to speculate on a name for the school, right?
Going for a historical nod is a possibility, and that means one thing: Henry Ford.
As a native of metro Detroit, several Ford-themed schools back there come to mind. There’s Henry Ford High School and Henry Ford Academy in Detroit and Henry Ford II High School (a Ford grandson) in a northern suburb. Dearborn, where Henry Ford lived and where his company’s world headquarters are located, has Henry Ford Academy, Edsel Ford High School (Ford’s son), Henry Ford Community College and Fordson High School.
Fordson, named for you know who, was the village that eventually became Dearborn. Maybe that’s why ole Henry resisted when Richmond Hill’s city fathers suggested naming the town after him — he already had one place named for him and they went and changed it!
I can guarantee though, that there will never be a school anywhere in Michigan named for William Clay Ford Sr., Henry’s last surviving grandchild and long-time owner of the Detroit Lions. If you follow football, you know why.
So a high school here named after Henry Ford can only have one logical mascot: the Mustangs. The Ford Mustangs. Don’t laugh. We used to play basketball in high school against the Lincoln Abes. They even had a large painting of a log cabin on one wall in their gym. No joke. But South Effingham already has the Mustangs, so scratch that.
Other historical nods could include Crossroads High School or Ways Station High School. The Crossroads Live Oaks? Nah, too easy of a target for opponents to “cut down,” given the recent fate of said Crossroads Oaks. The Ways Station Engineers? Nah, the only engineers around here nowadays work at Gulfstream.
Besides, the new school will be built too far away from either physical site to really complete the tie-in. Bryan Neck High School is another option, given the original name of the road that became Highway 144 and the recent growth along that corridor.
But if I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the new school being named South Bryan County High School. A big theme among school board members, administrators and teachers is unity within a school district and county that is geographically divided. A South Bryan County High School would complement Bryan County High School and move us closer to the #onebryan hashtag that’s been popping up in tweets lately.
But the school would still need a nickname. Something easily identifiable with the area. The Generals? The Settlers? Please, just no more animal mascots. The world does not need more animal mascots. Besides, I’m sure “Wildcats” was difficult enough to put up with during the popularity of that talentless rip-off of “Grease” a few years back (aka “High School Musical”).
So, what should it be? Something that really captures the gist of where the new school will be and why it is needed.
Wait, I’ve got it: the South Bryan County High School Buckheads.
Feel free to send me your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.