Names a Matter of Popularity at Penn Manor

By Alicia Ygarza

John, Sam, Alex, Billy. What’s your moniker?

It is easy to believe that Samantha and Tyler could be the most popular boy and girl name in the U.S. However, according to USA Today, Sophia and Jacob are the most favored names by mommies and daddies in the U.S.

The most popular baby names change from year to year, but not the name Jacob, which has been the most popular boy’s name for 13 years. While Sophia is the new most popular girl’s name, booting the reigning champ, Isabella, to second place.

Pamela Satran, co-founder of the baby-name website said, “Classic, gender-specific names” which represent “a more serious image of women,” has been the new trend this year. Names on the new list like Sophia, Isabella, and Olivia, suggest this.

Parents today are choosing their kids’ names wisely, whether it may be usual or unusual.

“They (parents) want their child to stand out and they’re afraid if they have four children in the classroom with the same name their child won’t stand out,” said sociologist, Patricia Leavy.

That is exactly what happened to Samantha Smith, a student at Penn Manor who thinks of her name as bitter sweet.

“I’ve been in a class with four people named Sam, three girls (including her) and one boy. I was Samantha, the other girl was Sammy, the third girl was Sam, and the boy was called by his last name,” said Smith.

Boy names you will frequently hear repeated at Penn Manor are Tyler, and Matt.

“It’s awkward when I’m in the hallway and someone says “Matt,” and they’re talking to someone else,” said Matt Gross, a junior at Penn Manor.

“It’s annoying [having a common name like Tyler], that’s why you have to have a nickname,” said Tyler Smith, senior at Penn Manor.

Samantha Smith said having a common name bothered her when she was younger, but she’s grown to accept it now, and likes when people call her Samantha.

“I think the name Samantha fits me because it’s graceful, and I think I’m graceful,” said Smith.

While Smith enjoys her name, other students are not so accepting of theirs.

Joanie Swinehart wishes for a more common name because she thinks the name Joanie is a bit “odd.”

“I don’t like it much,” said Swinehart.

“My mom named me after my grandmother, her name was Joan, and my mom added the ie. I hear it [the name] once in a while, but not everyday. It’s really different and it’s kind of odd, but I would like a more common name,” stated Swinehart.

There are many students in Penn Manor with uncommon names, and it appears to be mostly girls.

One student is named Precious, and another student is named Mi Lady, two very uncommon names that many have never heard before.

“I wish I had a different name, I can never find anything with my name on it, like the name tags you get at the beach,” said Precious LaBoy.

Her parents named her Precious because they were expecting a boy, but when they had a girl, they believed she was a precious gift from God. Therefore, named her Precious.

“I don’t think my name defines me, I would like the name Jasmine. It [the name Precious] sets what people are going to think about me, and if I’m not how they think I’ll be, it’s awkward,” stated LaBoy.

According to, the name Precious is not in the top 100 U.S. baby names.

The name Zoe statistics
There are other students in Penn Manor who have  uncommon names, just not as uncommon as Precious.

Like Zoe Hower for instance. Hower said she didn’t meet another person with her name until this year.

“I have no problem with my name because other names I like are uncommon too,” said Hower.

Hower’s parents named her after their friend’s cat, according to Hower.

She’s even seen pictures of it.

Common or uncommon, every name has a special meaning.

To find the meaning of a name you’re interested in, go to

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