The Name Predicament

The Name Predicament

At Community High School, there are ten different people named Sophie, Sofie, Sophia, or Sofia. There are at least five Natalies, about six Hannahs, and around four people who go by Jack. Even though Community has a random enrollment process, an abundant number of kids with the same names attend.

According to the United States Social Security Administration, Hannah was the second most popular baby girl name in 1998. Jack was the 61 most popular boy name. And Natalie was the 40th most popular girl name.

These name similarities affect teachers and students alike. Sofie St. John, a senior at Community said, “If somebody says Sofie during attendance, if I’m not totally paying attention, I’ll just be like “here,” wait that’s not me.”

Many of the people who have popular names at Community say that this wasn’t always the case. “There was, I think like one other Hannah in my elementary school, and I don’t know if there were any in my grade in middle school, but now there are a bunch,” freshman Hannah Rubenstein said. The same goes for St. John. “I only knew like one other person named Sophie when I was growing up. And then all of a sudden, in tenth or eleventh grade I was like wow I go to school with a ton of Sophies,” she said.

The name Sophia only seems to be growing. In 1993, it was the 196 most popular female name, but in 2011 and 2012 it was the most popular female baby name in the U.S.

Nicknames seem to be the best solution to name similarities. “In dance body there’s a couple Sophias, and one goes by Sophie, one goes by Sophia, and one goes by So-kro, so you’ll figure out a way if you’re all really good friends,” sophomore Katie Gerdenich said. “Sometimes people call me like Elmo,” freshman Ella Mosher said, one of four Ellas at CHS.

Community isn’t all monochromatic – it has its fair share of unique names such as Anurima. However the uncommon names at CHS may be considered mild compared to people in the United States who have been named after objects. In 2004, Lexus was the 972 most popular baby girl name. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin named their daughter Apple in 2004. And recently, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their baby girl North West.

According to a psychology teacher, names are more than what people call you; they affect the course of your life too. A “National Geographic” article cited findings made by professor of psychology and marketing Adam Alter. He discovered that politicians with uncomplex names are favored over those with complicated names.

Even though the name similarities at Community High may be frustrating at times, it gives many of the students an opportunity to bond over common ground. “It’s entertaining, but it’s really confusing,” St. John said.