The future name of the $133.7 million vocational school to be built in Danvers has yet to be determined.
But based on the three suggestions submitted to the regional district's School Committee last week, the name "Hathorne" is likely to appear somewhere.
Hathorne Technical Academy, Hathorne Vocational and Agricultural Academy, and Hathorne Tech High School were the three names suggested by students and superintendents from the two schools that will merge to form the new school in 2014.
Hathorne is the name of the Danvers neighborhood where the school will be built, on the campus of the current Essex Agricultural and Technical High School. The school will essentially merge Essex Aggie and North Shore Regional Technical High School, with Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester and Essex all among the communities sending students to the regional program as they do now.
"I'm comfortable with any one of the three (names)," North Shore Technical Superintendent Dan O'Connell said. "I think they all have merit."
The new school's official name will be Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School, but school officials are seeking a shorter name by which it will commonly be known.
A group of students from Essex Aggie and North Shore Tech have been meeting to come up with their preferences and submitted the names Hathorne Technical Academy and Hathorne Vocational and Agricultural Academy. O'Connell and Essex Aggie Superintendent Roger Bourgeois suggested Hathorne Tech High School.
The School Committee took the names under consideration but is also open to other suggestions, O'Connell said. He said the committee will likely vote on the name at its next meeting on May 24.
"It's all about branding," O'Connell said. "You want something different. I think all three of those fit that."
The name Hathorne derives from William Hathorne, an early settler who owned much of the land in the area. He was the father of John Hathorne, a judge in the Salem witchcraft trials, and an ancestor of author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Danvers Archivist Richard Trask said the name came into use to describe the neighborhood after Danvers State Hospital was built in the area in the 1870s. The hill where the hospital was located was called Hathorne Hill, and a nearby train station was called Hathorne station. Hathorne still has its own post office and zip code.
Trask said he liked the idea of incorporating Hathorne into the school's name.
"It puts it in a specific neighborhood," he said.
Amber Hartman, a 2011 graduate of North Shore Technical High School, agreed. She liked the idea of coming up with a name that does not favor either North Shore Tech or Essex Aggie.
"That'll get rid of the whole North Shore and Essex Aggie thing," she said. "There's always been kind of a divide."
Ally O'Brien, a 2010 North Shore Tech graduate, said she, too, liked Hathorne Vocational and Agricultural Academy because it incorporates the mission of both schools.
"That combines them very well," she said. "I think that represents both schools."
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