Kindergarten teachers across the U.S. are learning the names of all their new students, which might present an especially big challenge this year.
Children entering school this fall were most likely born in 2010 or 2011, when the No. 1 names both years were Jacob for boys and Sophia for girls. (Even when Isabella took first place in 2010, Sophia and Sofia together outnumbered her.) That makes nearly 100,000 children named Jacob, Sophia or Sofia starting kindergarten this fall, an average of 2,000 in every state.
If you throw Jake and Sophie into the mix, that’s nearly as many children as were named Michael and Jennifer in 1983, the year today’s average kindergarten parent was born. Welcome to school, new generation of kids destined to be known as Jacob R. and Sophia W.!
Other kindergarten students most likely to have a last initial appended to their popular first names are little boys named Ethan, William and Jayden, and girls called Emma, Olivia and Ava.
K may be for kindergarten, but it’s also for Kellan, Kellen, Knox, Karter, Kinley, Karsen, King, Kingsley, Kolton, Kasen, Kamron and Kamryn, all names starting with their birth year’s hottest first initial. And there will be a spelling test.
"Teen Mom" and the Kardashians were among the biggest naming influences from pop culture back in 2010 and 2011, which will have many classrooms greeting little girls named Maci and Khloe and boys named Bentley and Mason.
Other names new to kindergarten may have been inspired by celebrities and characters now largely forgotten: Briella, the name of a reality TV hairdresser; Raylan, thanks to the "Justified" hero; and Nyla, the name of a sensational YouTube . . . cat.
Teachers can no longer assume the gender of children named Finley, Emerson or Charlie, all on the rise for both girls and boys. The Quinns entering kindergarten this year, however, are more likely for the first time to be girls, thanks to the influence of the female character on TV’s "Glee," a show so wildly popular at the time that it inspired the names of thousands of babies.
Some names likely to appear on school rosters for the first time this year are destined to become commonplace among students of the future, including Harper, Mila and Isla for girls, and Silas, Bowen and Atticus for boys.
Elvis is still in the classroom this year, having made his final appearance on the Top 1,000 in 2011. And teachers may also welcome children named Presley and Graceland.
Most likely to cause confusion in classrooms are twins with top-ranked name pairs: Mia and Mya, Taylor and Tyler, and Heaven and Nevaeh.
A handful of lucky teachers will welcome children named Marvelous, Brilliant, Famous and Beautiful. Others may be steeling themselves to deal with new students called Notorious, Bronco, Breaker and Wrigley.
But don’t worry, kindergarten teachers: It’s only nine months till June!