New Steele Creek school to show Panthers pride

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comMarch 28, 2014 

— By month’s end, future students of the new elementary school on N.C. 49 will know what to call their new school. They’ll know a good bit more about it even sooner.

In mid-March a committee of incoming parents and staff members put out six names for the school. All had a local geographic tie. Incoming students and others eliminated Riverside, Walker Branch and York Road.

The remaining three names – Palisades Park, McDowell Park and Lake Pointe – will be submitted for a final decision.

“The recommendation to approve our school name goes to the board of education on April 22,” said Gina O’Hare, the former Walter G. Byers School principal who will take the same position at the new Steele Creek school.

Votes were held last week to determine a mascot and school colors. O’Hare spent Friday morning counting Warriors, Panthers, Cardinals, Wildcats, Raptors, Knight Hawks, Coyotes, Red Foxes.

“I’ve got 300 or 400 of them,” O‘Hare said. “We tried to give them choices that weren’t something that’s around here, that weren’t the same as the other schools.”

The results showed it wasn’t other schools students had in mind. It might have been a certain pro football team in Charlotte. Panthers received 171 votes, followed by Night Hawks with 46 and Red Foxes with 40.

“The majority of votes indicate that our school colors will be teal and black,” O’Hare said. “Sound familiar?”

O’Hare said the decision was made to choose a mascot and colors prior to the school naming to keep momentum going for the school’s opening, rather than having to wait until the end of the month. The board will take into account the prioritized list of school name choices, O’Hare said.

The naming committee discussed putting STEM, a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, into the school name to recognize the its magnet program for those studies. A community meeting is planned for 6-7 p.m. April 3 at Winget Park Elementary School to provide more information on the STEM curriculum.

O’Hare hopes to incorporate what the new school will have with similar efforts at Olympic High School.

“We hope to have their students come in and work with what our students will be doing with robotics,” she said.

The new school is planned to relieve crowding at Winget Park and Lake Wylie elementary schools. The $17 million school will have 39 classrooms. It will open for the coming school year.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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