Kern High School District Board of Trustees members discuss name submissions for the district's 19th comprehensive high school.

Kern High School District's newest southeast Bakersfield high school will soon have a name attached to it after the top eight entries were revealed to the Board of Trustees Tuesday.

KHSD Director of Business Kenny Seals revealed four regular names and four proper names the board will consider: Prosperity, Victory, Panama, Tacoma, David Nelson, Buck Owens, Thomas Baker and Mary K. Shell. 

In May, the district asked for the public's help in naming its 19th comprehensive high school. Community members could enter electronic or fax submissions to the KHSD Superintendent’s Screening Committee for the Naming of New Facilities. There were 986 submissions received, Seals said. 

"We're excited to see this new school in southeast Bakersfield come to fruition," Seals said.

The board will vote on the school's name at its next meeting on Oct. 7.

The submissions had to follow the KHSD Superintendent’s Screening Committee for the Naming of New Facilities criteria, which included being free from biases, prejudices, political or religious connotations and taking into consideration location, community and local heritage. Seals said the committee used a variety of factors to narrow down the submissions, including longevity, region, mascot, duplication and practicality of the initials. 

Board President J. Bryan Batey asked if the committee received any feedback from the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District over the possibility of the new school being named Panama High School. Deputy Superintendent of Business Scott Cole said the district was contacted and made aware of the selection.

"We did contact the superintendent and CBO for Panama, and they expressed some concern regarding using their name because of the confusion factor that we have another district and high school named Panama, but the committee didn't have the knowledge prior to selecting the name," he said.

Trustee Jeff Flores did not understand Tacoma on the list, but Seals explained it is a Native American and Latin word that means to go beyond or surpass, giving the school an aspirational name.

Batey joked, "if we were to name it Thomas Baker and it had a football field, would it be Baker's Field?" which was met with laughter and sarcastic boos from audience members.

The 250,000-square-foot school will be located at the northeast corner of Panama Lane and Cottonwood Road and construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2020. It is set to open by August 2022 and is estimated to serve up to 2,500 students.

It is the first comprehensive high school to be built since Mira Monte and Independence high schools opened in 2008.

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

(16) comments


Recently offered this:

Respectfully submitted LATE as an alternative name for the new BAKO SE HS.

Perhaps offers a solution to and for the community nearest and most in need of a High School.

Vista LaMont High


vista noun

vis·​ta | \ ˈvi-stə \

Definition of vista (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a distant view through or along an avenue or opening : PROSPECT

2 : an extensive mental view (as over a stretch of time or a series of events)


Gender: Male

Origin: French

Meaning: From The Mountain

Lamont (/ˈlæmʌnt/ (About this soundlisten), sometimes About this sound listen (help·info)),[1] also spelt LaMont (About this sound listen (help·info)), is a surname with several different origins, one Scottish and Northern Irish, the other in French.


the location is not within the Panama community...and there likely will be one day...doesn't make much sense.

How about a name which describes the area: "Vista De Nada" ;)

Okay seriously: "Toro" or "Terra" high...mascot: "Toros"

can't be the Toreros as this would have negative activity toward the Bovine, which is revered in Indian culture/religion(s).

almost as good as "Burroughs Burros"!


In the original naming contest, proper names were not allowed. Robert Price wrote a whole column about it. Now half the final 8 names are local people? If these are the top 8 out of over 900, I can't imagine how bad the other 800+ names must be.


Please take this personally. These names are weak. Surely having a school with a name that has no connection to the country, state, county nor geographical area not to mention people, is shallow at best. Panama or Cottonwood make more sense. At least it gives the seeker a heads up as to which end/side of Bakersfield to look.




Was this put out to an 8th grade committee for naming? Their are professional “namers” that specialize in this and are worth the money in spades. These names are weak at best. Suggest the KHSD go back to the drawing board and get competent help.


Msgr. Craig Harrison High School


Panama Dictators...nope.


Hard Rock High School and Casino. They can learn to count cards in math class.


What about Guion Buford? First African American to go into space. A tie in with Kern County history as his first mission landed at Edwards.


Guion Bluford. Didn’t notice the auto correct....


I like that idea Athanasios. It's a good compromise. Because if you picked a local minority, somebody would tell us how corrupt they were. It would be much tougher to harp on about an astronaut....unless of course it was one that drove across the nation in diapers to dispatch a romantic rival. Lol

Good call! You have my vote.


Unless Toyota is sponsoring the school, why would you name it Tacoma?


How about S. J. Warrior High School, S. E. Learning High School, or Tolerance High. No, wait . . . Restorative Justice High School. Just go back to location. Southeast High School. LOL


The Mary K. Shell name is already associated with mental health crises. It is the name for the place where people go when they are having a breakdown. Not recommended to name a high school after such a connotation.


Thomas Baker already had a school named after him. On Cottonwood Road. That was Col. Baker elementary. The town is named after him and so is Baker Street. Enough already. RIP

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