Students embrace uncommon names and the stories behind them

Sophomore Tripp Starr along with freshmen Leif Campbell and Dutch Platt share background behind unusual first names


By Claire Boone

Sophomore Tripp Starr along with freshmen Leif Campbell and Dutch Platt stand together on Monday, Nov. 13 displaying their uncommon names on whiteboards.

Nora Lucas, JagWire editor-in-chief

As a teacher goes through roll on the first day of school, most names read easily. Hannah? Here. Jake? Present. The teacher hesitates, as they all do, on the next name down the line. Walzaray Starr III is not as easy to say out loud. Luckily for sophomore Tripp Starr, he’s been here before. He sighs and says politely, “I go by Tripp.” As the teacher begins to inquire about the background of his name, he explains how someone could go from Walzaray Starr III to Tripp. This is a situation that happens on a regular basis.

Starr isn’t the only one who goes through this. Although names can vary from unexpected to nearly unreadable, there is no doubt that students with unusual names encounter different circumstances than those with common English names. For some of these students, their first names can be a source of pride, while others couldn’t care less.

As for Starr, the background of his name is simple. He explained that when his great-grandmother was choosing his grandfather’s name, she turned to the Dutch woman she worked for, who chose the name Walzaray.

“[My parents] named me that because my grandpa had it and then it kind of went down from generation to generation,” Starr said. “My godmother picked my nickname as Tripp because I’m the third, so like triple, Tripp. That’s why my name is spelled with two P’s.”

The rest of his  family has unusual names as well.

“My sister’s name is Antoinette, which is the same name as my mom,” Starr said. “She goes by Twinkle, though, which is kind of funny because it’s like Twinkle Starr.”

Starr is just one student who understands the struggle of the uncommon name. Freshman Dutch Platt, whose real name is Hollander, said people got Dutch from the country Holland.

“People started calling me Dutch ever since I can remember,” Platt said. “I think it was my parents.”

He did make it clear, however, that his family is not from Holland.

Unlike Starr and Platt, freshman Leif Campbell does not have a nickname, but still an uncommon name. The history of his name is unclear.

“Well, it’s Scandinavian,” Campbell said. “My grandpa says that a long time ago, when my family came to the U.S., we came from Norway. I don’t really know what made them think Leif, but they liked Scandinavian, so they went with that.”

Campbell said his name “makes life interesting,” and laughed at the jokes people tend to make.

“There’s some puns that come along with it,” Campbell said. “There’s ‘I’ll Leif you alone’ and ‘I beLeif in you.’”

Due to the simplicity and uncommon nature of his name, Starr said it often makes him memorable.

“So if I do something bad, god forbid, then they remember that Tripp Star did this,” Starr said. “But it could be for a good thing, too.”

Campbell, on the other hand, doesn’t think much of his name, but explained how it has benefitted him socially.

“I get a lot of ‘Hey, that’s a cool name,’” Campbell said. “I think it’s a subject to come up when making friends.”

Platt said an uncommon name had no drawbacks “that [he could] think of,” but instead suggested people tend to admire his name in particular.

“My orthodontist has a friend who named their son after me,” Platt said. “I really don’t know why.”

When looking to name his own kids, Starr wants to pass his family tradition down the line.

“I would probably name them my name,” Starr said. “I’m still thinking of a kid to represent four, maybe like Drew or something, like quadruple. But, I don’t know; I’m still thinking about that.”

Despite the inconvenience, for Starr, his uncommon name is just an everyday part of his life.

“When people say my real name, they get it wrong every time, so that’s kind of annoying,” Starr said. “Then I just tell them, ‘Oh, my name’s Tripp.’ I don’t really go into all that detail.”

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