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Lowcountry Prep: Name change puts emphasis on mission

By Sarah L. Smith
Coastal Observer

When the phone rings at Lowcountry Day School, people now answer, “Lowcountry Prep.”

Peter Mitchell said he and the board of trustees determined that the school needed a name change because the phrase Lowcountry Day did not represent its strategic goals.

“We really believe that using the term Lowcountry Day didn’t capture the real mission and essence of the school,” Mitchell said.

The school’s mission is to “prepare students for college, leadership and life,” according to the school’s Web site. By adding the word “preparatory” to describe the curriculum and taking away “day school,” Mitchell said he and the board thought the name would send a “clearer image” to potential students and parents about Lowcountry’s academic values. It also sends a message to colleges, graduating seniors told Mitchell in their exit interviews.

The nine 2009 graduates told him that when they go to college saying they came from a “prep” school versus a “day school” people will know they went to a private school with college preparatory curriculum.

Ginny Deeter, head of the school’s admission office, said the name change has already let one New York family know that the school is focused on college preparatory curriculum.

“He said he hesitated in calling because of the name,” Deeter said of the New York father. “He said with the name change he would know what it means.”

Mitchell said he and the board considered the change’s drawbacks, changing stationary, school uniforms and sports uniforms, and the negative connotations of the word “prep:” snobbishness or high-priced educations that only members of the financial elite can afford.

However, Mitchell said he felt like the school’s diversity and the way it provides scholarships for 40 percent of its students will keep people from misinterpreting what the school is about.

“As long as you’re a bright student and work hard you will get an excellent education here,” Mitchell said. “We feel comfortable that no one will misperceive.”

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