It's Your Shout!: What's in a Name?; WHERE TEENAGERS SET THE AGENDA

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD PEARCE

NEW YEAR babies have been in the news, and parents will be thinking carefully about choosing a name. But research has shown that many people are unhappy with what they are given. RICHARD PEARCE spoke to students at Woodway Park School and Community College about the all-important question...

CHRISTOPHER BAKER, AGED 16

HOME: Christopher lives with mum, Joy, dad Gary, who works for Cromwell Tools, and has a brother, Graig.

EXAMS: GCSEs and GNVQ.

CAREER/HOPES/AMBITION: A job involving computers.

INTERESTS: Football, computers.

CHRISTOPHER'S VERDICT: A name is important because it identifies who you are and what you are about. I think people who change their names devalue their personality because it removes a lot of their personal history, although in some situations it can't be helped.

Sometimes, names have something to do with religion, and if the children don't follow that religion they will want to change the name.

My name was originally going to be Ian, but my parents let my brother name me. So a name can be changed before you are born.

SAM EVANS, AGED 16

HOME: Sam lives with mum Tracey, dad Paul, and has a sister Gemma and two brothers, Adam and Robert.

EXAMS: Studying A-level English literature, art, psychology.

CAREER/HOPES/AMBITION: Work with children.

INTERESTS: Listening to music, going out, shopping.

SAM'S VERDICT: A lot of people in the public eye change their names to something shorter so that it's easier to remember. Some change their names to something which is not as common so that they are recognised more - Elton isn't very common, so people instantly know who you're talking about.

People also change their names because others see their name as stupid and bully them. I am happy with my name, so wouldn't change it. I like the names Chloe and Scott.

KELVIN ANDERSON, AGED 16

HOME: Kelvin lives with mum Moira, an administrator, dad Tony, a manager at Tesco and has a brother, David.

EXAMS: Studying A-level English literature, business, psychology.

CAREER/HOPES/AMBITION: Journalist.

INTERESTS: Football, music.

KELVIN'S VERDICT: I think the reason people want to change their names is that they want to be seen by people in a different light. Many famous people change their name because they don't believe they could be successful with their real one.

A change of name could also boost a person's confidence. I would rather have had a common name because it would have been easier to blend in with the crowd. But not many people have my name, so I am easily recognisable when people use it.

RICHARD SOMERS, AGED 18

HOME: Richard lives with mum, Val, and has two brothers, Dean and Paul and a sister, Kim.

EXAMS: GCSE English, maths, science. AS-level art. GNVQ ICT.

CAREER/HOPES/AMBITION: Unsure.

INTERESTS: Art, music.

RICHARD'S VERDICT: It's up to parents to choose names for their children. Unusual names can be all right, but it depends on what they are or how weird they are. If it's something like "Ivy Plant", I think they're taking the mickey a bit, but otherwise it's okay. A name can be a big thing for a parent. …