Rochester principals offer suggestions for school names at forum

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester City School District is seeking input from the community on the naming of five new schools and the possible renaming of two others. A forum was held late Tuesday afternoon, in which five principals gave suggestions on names.

In November, the district announced its school reconfiguration plan, which includes the creation of four new middle schools and one new high school.

School leaders also will rename two elementary schools (No. 34 and No. 46) to remove the names of those who were slave owners.

The schools to be named are:

— The middle school at 200 Genesee St.

— The middle school at the Freddie Thomas campus

— The middle school at the Charlotte campus

— The middle school at the Jefferson campus

— The high school at the Franklin campus

— Louis A. Cerulli School No. 34 (re-name)

— Charles Carroll School No. 46 (re-name)

Superintendent Carmine Peluso is to come back to the Board of Education at its Feb. 13 meeting with suggested names for each of the schools, when the board will vote.

Wakili Moore — currently principal of James Monroe Lower School and who will be principal of the middle school on the Jefferson campus — gave four suggestions: Benjamin Banneker Academy, for an African-American naturalist, mathematician, astronomer and almanac author; George Washington Carver Academy, for an African-American who founded a research lab where he worked of developing applications for plants; the Tenth Ward Academy Tigers, for a youth football program in the area; and Andrew Langston Academy, for the founder and chief executive officer of Monroe County Broadcasting Company and founder of WDKX.

Nakia Burrows — currently principal of Northeast College Preparatory High School and who will be principal of the middle school at the Charlotte campus — suggested “True Justice Middle School at the Charlotte Campus.”

Gina DiTulio, principal of Charles Carroll School No. 46, suggested African-American abolitionist and author Austin Steward; Bessie Hamm, who set up a scholarship fund for African-American students; and suffragist and abolitionist Susan B. Anthony. “While the Carroll family played a prominent role in the founding of our beautiful city, history tells us that they were also active in the slave trade and owned thousands of slaves. In light of this the school community would like the superintendent and the board to consider renaming our school,” DiTulio said.

Stephanie Harris — principal of Franklin Lower School and who will be principal of the middle school at the Dr. Freddie Thomas campus — suggested Nia, a Swahili word meaning “purpose,” which is the fifth principle of Kwanzaa. “It just values everything we stand for in students, giving everybody a purpose, all of us developing our purpose, and developing for the greater good of the community,” she said.

Moniek Silas-Lee — principal of Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19, and who will be principal of the middle school at 200 Genesee St. — suggested Loretta Johnson, the first female leader of the Rochester City School District.