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Suburban Spotlight

Last Saturday, the high school wing of Lakeland Preparatory was christened with an open house. On Monday, the school’s first freshmen will begin classes.

The events end years of long-awaited, long-debated discussions about whether a high school was needed or whether the timing for the city’s taxpayers was right for them to cover the cost.

All of that seems resolved now, right?

Lakeland was the last of the municipal school districts to open its own high school. Frankly, every other suburban district already had those buildings in their boundaries when the six cities broke away from the Shelby County system some eight years ago.

Most of the high schools bore the name of their respective cities – well, except for that confusion in Germantown where Germantown High stayed with Memphis-Shelby County Schools and Houston High folded into the Germantown system.

Anyway, the new $50 million Lakeland facility has all the up-to-date amenities in its 218,000 square feet. A two-story classroom setup, athletic facilities for multiple sports and fine arts arrangement. A USDA loan helped finance the building and its furnishings.

The high school’s sports teams will take on the name Lions, a continuation of the mascot associated with the city and its other teams. An anonymous source once suggested Skyriders or Showboats, a throwback to the days when the city’s boundaries were comprised of Lakeland Amusement Park with its skyride from one end of the park to the other or the boat that skimmed the park’s lake. Those would have been some pretty awesome choices.

As for me, I’ll always prefer Phantoms as the appropriate nickname. As I said several years ago, it’s unique, unusual, pretty scary and there are some great logos of the few teams that have chosen that.

Some Lakelanders didn’t take kindly to that idea when I suggested it as an appropriate title since they were the ones without a high school.

But, alas, with the official opening of Lakeland Prep’s high school wing, I shall bury the Phantoms idea and let the Lions prevail. - Suburbs editor Clay Bailey 

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