LEESBURG, Va. - A debate is on in Loudoun County to name the school system's newest middle school.
A naming committee came up with suggestions that have fallen flat with some. Now, parents of childhood cancer patients have come up with a name they say would be inspiring to students and also to serve as a tribute to those lives lost.
The naming committee has picked the name Brambleton as its first choice, but school board member Joy Maloney and parents childhood cancer patients have come up with what they insist is a better name – Hope Middle School.
Maloney said support has spread quickly for this idea, but it is not going to be easy. There are concerns that supporters came up with the name too late. But Maloney said she is going to try and sway hearts and minds at Tuesday night’s meeting.
"The pushback I'm getting is on process,” she told FOX 5. “But then I also have had school board members come to me and tell me that they are really excited that the community where the middle school is going is very excited that they have brought it to the community.”
Right now, the school is only known as "MS-9" and construction is only just getting started. It could be more than a year before it is ready to open.
An online petition that has gained hundreds of signatures is pleading with the Loudoun County School Board to consider the “Hope” name. It turns out “Hope” actually has historical and geographical roots in the area from nearby Mt. Hope Baptist Church and Mount Hope Road.
But more importantly, supporters said it would complement community efforts to honor childhood cancer patients and Loudoun County students like Mathias Giordano, who died back in 2014, as well as others like DeClan Carmical and Gabriella Miller.
Giordano’s mother, Roya, said many parents tell her the name makes perfect sense.
"The feedback that I have gotten personally has been amazing because people are hoping to see this happen,” she said. “Because it's going to be an inspiring name and it's going to mean something to not just to the cancer community, but all the families and their children.”
On Tuesday night, the school board voted against Hope Middle School in a 5 to 4 vote and approved the name of Brambleton Middle School in an 8 to 1 vote.