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What’s in a name? For Cleveland St High alumni, it’s everything

Strawberry Hills, Surry Central, and Surry Hills High are also contenders.

But For Mr Craig, the name Cleveland Street should be preserved somewhere in the title, as it is heavy with history.

He believes it would be a gesture of respect to the school’s high-achieving alumni, such as former Sydney Lord Mayor and Wallaby captain Nicholas Shehadie, former NSW governor Marie Bashir, soccer player Johnny Warren, and World War II code breaker Frederick Chong.

It would preserve the school’s links to its proud beginnings in 1856, as one of four model schools established in the earliest days of public education, alongside Fort Street, William and Paddington Public Schools, Mr Craig said.

“If you start a new school, and it has no history, there’s very few things that you can relate the kids to about achievement, other than that you need to do your best,” Mr Craig said.

“If you have achievement and history there … it makes it a much easier job. Otherwise you have to create a culture. I was a former principal in schools – it takes ages to create a real culture in a school, and get kids to love it.”

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The new principal, Robyn Matthews, has consulted the former students about ways to preserve the school’s history, and Mr Craig has been approached about a class project designed to link the new students with the old ones next year.

But for Mr Craig and his friends, the link with history will be broken if the old name is not preserved. “If you rename it, I can’t see a connection,” he said. “Yes, the history and stuff, that’s there, and the buildings, but if it has different name, then it’s a new start.”

The old boys have pointed out to the department that its own policy states a school’s name is “important, because it will remain with the school throughout its history.”

The school’s new leadership team, who have been giving the school a working title of Inner Sydney High, has been busily hiring staff, designing uniforms, and setting up a P&C before the doors open to year seven next year.

A spokesman for the department said community groups had been extensively consulted, and more than 275 people replied to the survey.

“The naming process is still to be finalised, and is taking into account the nature and location of the new school, the responses to options for names presented to the community, and other opinions community members have expressed,” he said.

“Independently of the final decision on a name, work is being done, again in consultation with the community, to ensure the heritage and history of the site is reflected in the finished school. This may include the naming of different facilities and displayed texts.”

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