The Bentonville School District on Tuesday night released the results of a vote to name the planned second high school and pick its mascot. The voting results will not officially factor in to the final decision, but 1,685 students participated.
Bentonville School Board members are set to turn in their top three choices for school name and mascot Wednesday morning for the second high school to be built on Gamble Road in Centerton. Seventh and eighth-graders will then vote on the school name and mascot from that narrowed-down list, according to the school district.
A final decision on a name and mascot may be made by next Monday.
Jennifer Cunningham has three children ages 4, 5, and 8 years of age who will eventually attend the new high school. She looked over the names and mascot options.
“For me, I think the kids like something a little bit fierce so probably Chargers, we can cheer on the Chargers or Falcons,” Cunningham said. “I like the diversity.”
To aid board members in their decision, the school district released the voting results from students and principals. Centerton High School was the leading vote-getter among students, with 1,957 votes, while Bentonville West High School came in second with 1,825 votes.
Other popular high school names that cracked the students’ leader board included Benton County High School, Fuqua High School and Benton County Westside High School.
“It’s a significant event,” said Superintendent Michael Poore. “This high school will develop its own culture, it will have it’s own team, and it will have its own academic successes.”
Principals who were polled had a different take on what the high school’s name should be. Bentonville West High School was the runaway leader for principals, with 57 votes, while Bentonville Alliance High School came in second place with 24 votes. Centerton High School came in third place with 23 votes, followed by Bentonville West Spring High School, with 18 votes.
Student leaders who were polled went in a different direction, opting to vote for Kathy Murry High School as their first choice, with 35 votes. Murry was the Fulbright Junior High School principal who died unexpectedly in January at the age of 59.
Centerton High School came in second place with 18 votes, while Benton County High School came in third place among student leaders, with 16 votes.
Grant Lightle, school board vice president, said it’s important to let students express their opinion’s when it comes to the name of the school.
“It’s becoming a lot more real as you start looking the architects drawings, you start talking about mascots, and you talk about names and school colors,” Lightle said.
The top choice for mascot also differed between students, student leaders and principals. Students voted Wolverines as their favorite mascot, with 2,319 votes, while Jaguars came in second place with 1,822 votes. Diamond Cutters, Falcons and Barracudas rounded out the top five vote-getters among students.
Principals voted Bearcats as their top choice for mascot, with 15 votes. Bobcats narrowly came in second place, with 14 votes, while Bears, Jaguars and Chargers rounded out their top five.
Student leaders’ top vote-getter for mascot is the Mustangs, with 27 votes, while Jaguars trailed in second place, with 25 votes. Bearcats, Bobcats and Mavericks were also in their top five choices for mascot.