What’s the strangest student name you’ve ever had?

For any teacher, naming their own children is probably one of the most difficult and personal tasks. For art teachers, it’s probably even worse, because we have hundreds of student names on our roster… And those names… Well, lets just say they all come with a little bit of baggage and associations.  For some reason all the Dylan’s I’ve had always seem naughty (Sorry if your kid is named Dylan, I am sure he is an angel). So I could never use the name Dylan for my own kids. You get the picture.

Plus, even if it’s a nice name, having multiples of the name can really turn you off. One year I had a Maddie C, Maddie B and a Maddie D, all in the same class. (I’m seeing stars just thinking about it)

When my husband and I were coming up with names for our first child (we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl) he would suggest a name, and I would instantly say.. NO… because of a kid at school I had with the same name. My goal was to name my kids something different from any other student I’d ever had. Luckily, I’d never had a Nora. Our boy name was safe, too. Mission accomplished.

So maybe you wouldn’t choose a certain name for your own kids, but what about the names that are so different, you wonder why anyone would EVER name their kid that (Hello Gweneth Paltrow naming your kid Apple).  I can’t say I’ve had any student names that are too crazy, but I have heard of colleagues that have some interesting stories about student names. Here is my favorite one: The girls’ name was spelled La-a. The teacher, very confused, asked the parent how to pronounce it.  The mom was quick to point out that the dash shouldn’t ever be silent. (Ladasha). OMG.

So, dish- What is the strangest student name you’ve ever had?

Was it hard to name your own kids because of students you’ve had in the past? 

Pssstt… There is a new video up on the Classes PageThe Top 10 Reasons to Take an AOE Class – You won’t want to miss the serene views from my backyard and flowers from my garden while you get the lowdown :)  


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Jen

    How do I pick just one?  A few….’Female’ (pronounced ‘fe-MAH-lee’), ‘Chardonnay’, ‘Tequila’ and simply ‘L’.

    • Tequila is special, but “L” – WOW! 

      • I personally didn’t have these two brothers, but they were there before I got there. Lemonjello and Orangejello……Teachers are still laughing 30 years later!
        Or-anh-jello and Luh-mon-jello, they must have really like JELLO in that family! I feel the same about the name Dylan-no way ever! I have had many unusual names, but the first time I got a Nevaeh (heaven, backwards) I was nonplussed. Why not just call your little girl Heaven or Heavenly?  I also have a Raven, a Lenjamin, and  a ZZ!

  • Amanda

    I have had some crazy names in my classes – but it isn’t the crazy names that get to me as much as the crazy spellings.  In what world can you make up your own spelling and then decide what sounds those letters should make together — and then get mad at people for not knowing how to say it.  Drives me bananas.  

    • Art in the Ghetto

      This is SOOOOO true!!! I listed my example above: De’Heavelyn, pronounced Da-Heaven-ly. Really? Obviously ebonics doesn’t jive with phonics.

      • NFKarts

        I had a student this year who spelled her name Merander, but it was pronounced like Miranda. Crazy indeed!

  • tobie711

    Nia, Nylah ,Nya the I’s sound like y’and the y’s like i’s I never get it right. ..Also I have had 6 Jazmines all spelled different

  • Shari

    I had the HARDEST time picking a boy’s name…it took my husband and I almost up to the due date to come up with a name.  Boys are stinkers!  Both of my children have names that are not as popular (yet) which makes it nice.  (CAYDEN is my son and ZOE is my daughter).  The other cultural names are definitely the toughest and most unique. 

    • claudia

      oh my gosh, shar!  HI!!  while reading down, I saw cayden and zoe’s names and thought, geez, she has the same names for her kids as Shar does!  haha!

      • Shari

        Imagine that!  We belong to the same site!  :)  <3 u Mullane!  :)

  • Andrew Lane

    I had a young lady named “Cet”  pronounced Kate

  • Laurasnyder

    My ALL TIME  FAVORITE student name belongs to a little kindergarten girl I had about 6 years ago.  Her name was Che’Quieriannah.  She couldn’t even spell it, so her mom told her to write Che’Q.  

  • Megan Farkas

    This year I had a kindergartner named “Mercedes Benzing”…  I thought it was interesting and fit her little spit fire personality.  It’s nice that I could easily remember it.  :) 

    I’m pregnant with my first baby and having the same problem.  Luckily we know it’s a boy so we can throw out all of our girl options. 

  • Hannah

    I am having a hard time picking out a name NOW! Student names have fortunately not influenced me too much because every name I would consider, I’ve had different versions for the students, ex. Max.. had some good ones, had some ‘not-so-bright ones,’ had some really polite ones. Most odd names so far have been Zebulon, Zeke, and Zane. 

    But now that I have your attention… can I ask you what you think about these names? My husband and I kind of don’t want to reveal any names because EVERYONE has an opinion, but now… I’m just lost. I never understood the parents who didn’t have names until their delivery… and now I can see why!

    So what do you think of: 
    Abraham (I love it because it’s very powerful sounding, very alpha male for our first born… BUT… it is a little uncommon and I know I’m not supposed to care, but I don’t want people making a face when I say it.), 
    Maxwell (Our last name starts with an ‘M,’ so I love alliterations and I honestly do think people are expecting this one from us… but Max gives me the connotation of a really silly boy that COULD be a handful),
     or Elijah (This one for some reason we don’t have any real “cons” but for some reason we want to save it for a potential second boy.. which makes me think, if we don’t have anything wrong with it now, why not use it). Oy! Help? : )

    • I like Abraham, too. It’s different and Abe would be a cute name for a kid or adult. All that matters is you love it!! I liked Gabriel for a boy but Gabe Balsley is a little Ackward.

    • Cmullane

      I love the names you’ve chosen.  I have a darling little student named Abram — kind of a shortened version of Abraham.  He goes by Abe a lot.  Elijah is very cool — I like Eli.  I have a nephew named Elias, which I also like.  Max is also a good, strong name.  I have some really nice ones at school!

    • I like Abram. Easier to pronounce and spell. It sounds manly and when he hits college, the ladies will find his name sexy…..

  • Eckee23

    I swear this is true…at our district art meeting, we started talking about how interesting some of  the kids’ names were this year. I thought I won the battle of the names with Theloneus when another teacher said she had a child whose name was pronounced “shi-theed”, and , yes you guessed it…her name was spelled SH*THEAD!!!! Why oh why would a parent do that??????

    • Hannah

      We’ve had a Sh*thead (shiteed)!.. But they were of a a different nationality, so I’m pretty sure they didn’t know what that name looked like to Americans

      • The responses have me rolling on the floor laughing!!! I needed a chuckle!
        Jessica Balsley

      • Gerardik

        we also had a shi*head.  Another one was La-a (pronounced ladasha) and a minikolin.  This one was made up from all of the siblings names and was pronounced mini colon)
        crazy!  The worst this year are three brothers all named pablo.

  • Mreel

    I’ve had several really bad ones over the years, but this year I have an “Abra!” Seriously, what were her parents thinking!!!

  • Maryldepalma

    I had a student named E. It was not an abbreviation either that was his actual name. I also had a student in the same district named Seven

  • Art Teachers Hate Glitter

    I’ve had some interesting ones, but I can’t think of them at the moment (hello, only four hours of sleep for three nights in a row! Thank you, teething, playful baby). I had such a hard time coming up with a name for my babe, mainly because of the student factor. In fact, she still didn’t have a name when she was born. We took a list of about 25 potential names with us to the hospital and just said them out loud while looking at her to see what fit. I tried SO hard to avoid any weird spellings or trendy names. I thought we had picked a classic, old world name, but in my drug induced post-labor haze, I didn’t realize that we had selected a name with an entirely different pronunciation than what we thought, we just thought it was a different variation! Now we often have to correct people on their pronunciation of our daughter’s name. We seriously considered changing the spelling of her name to the correct spelling for the correct pronunciation. We still haven’t ruled it out entirely.

    • Funny, I am running on about the same sleep as you today, teething baby, too!! Welcome to motherhood, right? I am sure her name will fit her perfectly no matter what you do!

    • Mikyongyoo1

      When I worked in retails, I had a customer who named her daughters as Love, Hope, and Faith. Thought that was cute.
      I had a student named Kiki, and that’s my dog’s name! Of course I didn’t say anything.

  • Khric

    I am currently 34 weeks pregnant and can definitely relate! We have 3 possible names for our little boy and I was determined that they would be REAL names (not some crazy variation) and that it was have a traditional spelling that would be easy to pronounce. Of course I had to not know a billion kids with the same name. One of our names I have never come across while teaching! It was quite a task!

    And we have some very unusual names at our school, but mostly because we get all the ESOL kids from the entire district. I have Fofo, Taha, Rand, Nadji, Tannapat, and a Rehab (pronounced re-haaab).

  • Crazy names? There are and have been SO MANY! The one that I still have to look at the roster to spell (even in May!) is Harianyelis pronounced airy-angeliz. She doesn’t know how to spell it so I constantly have to write it in yellow marker on her paper and have her trace it! At the beginning of the year I wrote it on a bunch of papers put it in her classes folder so I was ready. Now I’ve just run out of patience! 

    Stella Blue is definitely not a name I’ve ever had! Never even had a Stella. I think it is Italian and I live and work in a Polish/Puerto Rican dominated community. LOVE NORA!

    • Oh, for those of you I don’t know my daughter’s name is Stella! I’m sure that comment didn’t make any sense not knowing that!

      • Erica,
        I absolutely love Stella Blue, too! :0 Maybe some day these tots can meet!

  • Debby S.

    I have an elementary sweet boy whose name is Espn. ( It is pronouced Espen) His dad told me he loved the sports network and named his son after it! What kind of parent does that? 

  • Jen

    How could I forget Shi’Tonnya……

  • Mcbartos

    When I named my daughter 16 years ago I thought I was being so different. I had never had a Maddie before and thought it would be so cute. Yes, it,s cute but about 4 years later every other girl was named maddie. I have about two in every class. Second child, now 13 , went different again, Gabriella. And in 13 years have only had 1( so I feel pretty good about that one). My last child also went with a name of no previous students “izzy”, and now that she’s seven I still haven’t come across any. I do have a Bella and an Isabel, however. Within the last few weeks we enrolled a little boy from out west “Jesus” pronounced heyzoos When the students don,t follow the rules they get their name on the board as a warning. We are a rural school in southeast Indiana. So needless to say my first grader, “Jesus” had his name one the board. The next day a little girl from a different 1st grade class wanted to know why Jesus,s name was one the board by the students names. Maybe I should have told her He came to visit the students whose names were on the board. Hee Hee.

  • Leah

    My two most memorable names are relatively normal in and of themselves: Mason and Travis.  However, Mason’s last name was Dixon (Mason Dixon??) and Travis was a nickname short for Travesty. 
    My naughtiest name was Jacob.  I almost never had a well behaved Jacob.  And then when I met my husband, that was the boy name he wanted because it was a family name and was very important to him, so I agreed.  We had all girls.  :)

    • Art301

      I have also had a Mason Dixon!

      • Leah

         My Mason’s middle name was Lee.  Cue the General Lee flying down the dirt road blaring it’s Dixie horn!!!

    • George

      Jacob is the most popular boy’s name in America for the thirteenth year in a row!

  • The Wendy Lady

    Boys named Angel or Jesus (common names where I live) are usually a clue that they will make my class interesting,

    I think the two most interesting names I heard this year was America and Millenium. My most common un-common name this year was Sophia/Sofia. I have 1 in 4 out of 5 classes.

  • Jillart1

    I have a student this year named Tirza (pronounced Tears-ah).  Her middle name is Joy.  Yep.  
    Also, I’ve got a Midori and an Absinth, nickname Abby.

  • Julileighton

    I have had many crazy student names over 13 years but my craziest of all time was last year- godswill (no, really) & this year- mount Sinai. No, really!

  • Gholmes200

    I know that you wont believe me but a girl in my 5th year tutor group was called – Tia Maria – truth  so cheers to us all. 

  • Jkp7ouisch

    I’ve had the following students: “Taijahnay”. “Genesis”. Kasper, Lex Luther, Arion, Godessy, and one child who insisted on being called “Puppy”. I have a River Blue, too, but I kinda like that one!

  • I love this post!  I’m expecting my first baby in October and I have a running list of names I would never ever use!  Too funny.

    • Then you totally get it, don’t you Jennifer! Best of luck with your new little one. October is good month to have a baby (wink). You will have lot of energy this summer to get some things done, or at least I did!

  • I had a Tajma Hall (which I thought was a pretty name).  I had a Sam and three Samanthas in one class this year.  I know a lady named Tuesday, and girl named October Sky, a boy named Kwinten
    No one has mentioned rhyming names yet.  I know a Rick quick, Jayme Rayme and Kelly Skelly.
    When we were having our first child my husband wanted to use a family name of Jefferson.  I refused because of a Jeff I had known.  Ab-so-lute-ly not!

  • Stephaniecouncill

    About 11 years ago, I had a sweet girl named epiphany….I made the mistake of asking how her parents decided on her name, expecting to hear something like, “oh, it just came to them out of nowhere!” But was disappointed to know they just heard the word on tv and liked it. That same year, had a Mercedes, a porche and a da’ville. :)

  • Donna

    I named my third child Mary.  I chose it because of many reasons, but the bonus was NO ONE is naming their child Mary! It is too mundane. Of course the fact that no one is naming their child Mary anymore made her the only Mary in her school! There were many Madisons and Kaitlyns and Addisons and all the other names people name their kids because they think if they name their child something unusual, their child will be special. And then many children have that  same name.

    • anon

      Same here, except that my son is David.  He’s one of only 2 Davids in a school of 500+ students.  It used to be one of the most common names but now it makes him unique.  

  • Perthcr

    We have a Reetu, Mischa, Imogene, Serefine, Troja, and Hermine.

  • Priscilla

    We have twin girls at our school named Mary Kate and Ashley ;)

  • Eukent

    We have had girls named Rainbow and Sunshine.  Really!  We also had a little boy years ago by the name of Rock,  the bad thing was,  he was in Special Ed..   My son’s name is Bradley. He is now 22 but when he was in kindergarten he hated spelling out his entire name so he simply shortened it up to (no, not Brad)  but Bra!   Yep, spelled it this way for 2 months!  His teacher would just come in laughing daily.  Thank goodness back in those days most kindergartners weren’t reading yet.

    • Even though I shouldn’t, I am chuckling about the kid named “Rock”… Oh my.

      • Ted Edinger

        one of my best friends has a child named Rocker! :)

    • George

      River Phoenix’s sister is named Rainbow. (She goes by Rain now). Sunshine was VERY popular in the sixties.

  • Micksd

    I did not have this student but it’s true. The student’s first name was Abcde. It was
    pronounced ( Abb-sa-de). Just spelling their name kills 2 birds with 1 stone. Now they know the alphabet. I wonder if their last name started with a F. Stop the madness….

  • Art in the Ghetto

    As an art teacher in the ghetto, I have plenty to choose from. I’ve had: Casino, Sony, Nokia, Nike’na, Princess & Prince (twins), Demontea, Unique, Special, De’Heavelyn (who pronounced it Da-Heavenly), Tarheel, Lizardo, One, Monashaniquaea (a kindergartener who for obvious reasons signed her art as Mo-Mo). There’s tons others that I must be repressing, shocker. ;) Another, the quarterback of my brother’s graduation class was Marijuana, and he was really good. His mom told the news she named him that so that he’d know the dangers of it early. I’m thinking hopefully for all the normal-named kids, there must be another way to educate our children about drugs.

    • Maybe that parent should have looked to DARE to keep kids off of drugs instead of butchering her kids name. hahaha! Casino!!! Oh these just keep getting better!

  • Kmason

    I have had many interesting names lately. The name that still perplexes me is Imunique.  I have a couple of Uniques, but Imunique? Mom must have really wanted her to stand out! She is a super sweet girl most of the time,  I just can’t picture her as an adult with the name, how would you introduce yourself at a job interview?

  • Woloszh

    I currently have: Zyon, Rocky, Aaleayah, a kid who’s middle name us ESPN, and a first grader who goes by “Tuff”. In the past I’ve had an Ozi, Raven, Satin, and Seven.

    • You are not the first ESPN I’ve heard of. Must be some avid sports fans out there!

  • Lisa

    The best one I’ve heard of is Satan  (pronounced Satin)…. true story she was in a friend’s class

  • Lisa

    I also had a boy named Christian Faith

  • I had a brother sister pair named Indigo and Magenta! I secretly kind of love it.

  • Anonymous

    My mother had two students (cousins) named YourRoyalHighness and YourMajesty. I thought those were the worst but after reading these, I’m no longer convinced.

    • After reading all of these I am also concerned or the future of our country….hahaha!

  • Megan

    The 2 most recent ones I can think of are Luckyboy and Godgive.  I also worked with a student who went by his middle name of Thor. Never a dull moment in teaching! :)

  • Becca

    I think my strangest student name was Trak’e — pronounced TraShay.  Of course the mother was very upset and called the school to complain when I accidentally pronounced it “Trake” the first day of class because the computer printed it out without the accent mark (as if that would have helped, really…)

    I had another student named Brackett.  That was interesting.  

    Let’s see… there was a little girl in one of my classes named Tequila.  This was pre- Tila Tequila on MTV, too.  I will probably see a few Gagas in the future.  

    • Guest

      I knew a Tequila once, and it was also way before Tila Tequila…

  • Marshil

    A little late. My best were Chaisty = Chastity and twins, Lexus & Camry.

  • Teaching in Thailand, I have the market on strange names, and I’m not even referring to their real names (which consist of 10+ letters!). Beer, Boat, Flook, View, Film, Ton, Game, Grape, Poon, Tent, Nut, Donut, Time, etc. 

  • Guest

    I think that making fun of student names is not the level of professional behavior I would want to exhibit in an online forum. Please consider removing this discussion, after considering how you’d feel if the parents of the “strangely named” students saw these posts. Anything you post online should be something you would want printed in headlines in the daily newspaper (to use an old-fashioned analogy). 

    • I am so sorry you feel that way. The forum was never meant to poke fun at students, and I do realize that a “strange name” is in the eye of the beholder. This is not a place for parents and and students, it’s a place for art educators to come and connect, and talk and share about things in the profession. Good, bad and ugly. We keep it very professional on this website, and I’ve always seen AOE as a professional space. We focus on such a variety of topics, and cater to all types of teacher personalities and issues. Thank you for your input, I appreciate the feedback.

      • Guest

        Comments on any website are not private. Anyone with a computer can access this site, even if it’s supposed to be “just” for educators. Words we post online can be misconstrued or used against us, and you can’t completely erase them. I’ve read some pretty alarming articles about teachers being fired for making what they thought were private comments in emails and on Facebook.
        I appreciate that you mean  for AOE to be a professional site. However, sharing “strange” student names is not respectful or professional.  I am impressed with the rest of this site’s content, and feel this is a very well intentioned, useful resource. (although it speaks volumes that *this* is the most popular topic) You might even want to research and present guidelines for educators to keep in mind when using Facebook, web forums, and other social media.  

        • Teacher1

          Don’t read them! You obviously searched the website for something like this. Or maybe parents should realize the injustice they are doing to their children. Studies show that the vast majority of employers will not even look a resume with ridiculous names. Don’t set your kids up for failure!

          • Monique

            You know what I actually searched for — I searched Google for “names art” for ideas of using student names in art. This was one of the search results. I followed the link because it was an art site, and I certainly did not expect to find this!

      • Guest

         Jessica, your perception of your forum is inaccurate and biased, and perpetuates a “majority” viewpoint. When you have people making jokes about names like Jesus and digs about “ebonics not jiving with (‘whitespeak’) phonics,” yet call “Christian Faith” a “wholesome name,” you’re lowering, not raising the bar for teachers everywhere. Please remove this thread and stick to art.

    • Monique

      I agree completely with “Guest” above. Making fun of student names on a public website, regardless of intent, is very disrespectful and unprofessional and violates student confidentiality.

      Can you imagine being a student, Googling your name and finding this thread?! People, including students, parents and teachers, Google names all the time. I tried Googling one of the less common names mentioned here, and it led me here. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a child or parent to find this that way. The original post by Jessica and many of the replies makes me feel like crying.


      • Teacher1

        You don’t have to read them. How about that!

        • Monique

          I have obviously already read the posts because I thought this was an art site which would have ideas about using names in art. I came across this and was shocked! Me not reading the posts doesn’t change the fact that the students and others are able to read them.

  • Becca Witherow

    Sunny and Stormie Day!

  • Lstone

    I’ve had many.  Most creative brothers Forrest and River Rainwater.  I also have a Sachin pronounced Suchin, a Darrelreannah (not sure if saying or spelling it is harder).  Then there is Zeddo, Emoke, Omery, Reine……. I could go on

  • artina9

    I had a wonderful student who immigrated here from the Phillipines, and his name was truly Bingbong.  The first time I heard it was his name, however, I was subbing in his home room and the teacher had left me a note saying, “…you will have to remind Bingbong to go to speech therapy at 11:00.”  I actually said out loud, “how could she call him that, it is so mean.”  One of the students was quick to let me in on the story that it was just his real name.  whew~!

  • AshNunn

    I had a countryfied girl named Paisley.  I’ve also had a Colter, Maverick, Liberty, Hope and Faith (sisters), Cannon, Ravyn, and a girl named Roxi Martini.

  • Robin Ford

    A couple of years ago I had a Moyses(pronounced Moses) and Jesus in the same class…oddly they were cut-ups when they sat next to each other, so I always kept them at different tables.

    • Robin Ford

      They were fantastic art students, too!

  • Mollie

    Prime Minister (that is his first name, called him Prime), Lacy Knighty, Heavenly Hamm,  Miss Kitty (first name), and Ch’Korlan :)

  • Guest

    I’m horrified by this discussion; extremely unprofessional and racist. This will be my first and last visit.

  • Jcipalla

    I’ve had many crazy names- but the one that makes me say, huh? was a girl by the name – 7 yes, the number, not spelled out, just 7 ……….

    • George

      I thought that was illegal, that they had to use letters, not numbers. This was the finding in a court case in one state (maybe Michigan or Minnesota, can’t recall) years back.

  • Guest

    The oddest one I’ve had is a girl – Lovey (pronounced La Vay) Darling.  Quite the little artist too!  

  • Art9teacher

    I worked at an inner city school for 6 years and had some amazingly creative names. The three that I’ll never forget are French Carpenter, Olijumoke (pronounced: Ah-li-ja-moe-key) and D’end (Pronounced: “D”-end) I asked her, why her parents had named her D’end, she told me she had about 7 siblings and her mom told her she was the LAST ONE. AMAZING!

  • Ted Edinger

    My first couple years of teaching I had part time jobs after school. On my first day working at a pet store…I had another worker come up to me and say..”My name is Natasha….that is AH SATAN backwards”…then she walked away. OH MY!! ha ha That being said… most of my Natasha’s have been super sweet.over the years.

  • spencefi

    K’la pronounced Kayla.

  • I had a student named Sparkle Diamond :)

  • Jen Matott

    I’ve had a few… Yurhyness (Pronounced: Your Highness), Prince, Autumn Brown, Myiluv (My Love), Amorr. The ones with the royal names were always more of a handful. Seems they live up to their name in a not so nice way.

  • Gordon

    When I subbed, I once had a class with Julia Roberts, Charles Dickens, and Michael Moore!

  • Kiara

    I have had a students named anonymous, and tomorrow. -.-