Category: Student Names

A Hell of a name..

By , Friday, 13th July, 2007

Here’s a news article I came across the other day, What’s in a name? For would-be pupil Max Hell, it’s been, well, hell, over at The Age newspaper.

Apparently, it has been alleged that this catholic school refused enrolment based on the child’s surname – Hell.

Now we wouldn’t see that happening in a public school would we?? 😉

A CATHOLIC primary school in Melbourne’s west has refused to enrol a prep student because the family’s surname is Hell, the boy’s father claims.

Alex Hell said his eldest son, Max, 5, was refused entry to St Peter Apostle Primary School in Hoppers Crossing last month after he reneged on a deal with the principal to change Max’s surname to Wembridge, his mother’s maiden name.

Mr Hell, 45, a self-employed father of three, said he suggested the name change, knowing first-hand the teasing the surname attracted in the Catholic sector. He said his own schooling at St Margaret Mary’s School in Spotswood saw him victimised because of his surname, which in Austria means light or bright. Mr Hell is of Austrian heritage.

The family decided to change Max’s surname when moving him from a nearby state school to St Peter Apostle Primary.

“Most kids in primary school probably wouldn’t know what hell meant but in the Catholic schools, heaven and hell is an issue,” Mr Hell said.

After consulting the parish priest, Father Greg Bourke, the school’s principal, Michael McGrath, agreed and welcomed the name change for the enrolment.

But when it came to ditching the family name, Mr Hell had a change of heart. “I couldn’t do it because that’s our name, our heritage, it’s who we are.”

Mr Hell said he was now reluctant to consider a Catholic education for his children.

“I’ve had enough. I was ridiculed as a child … I want him to be accepted as Max Hell, but obviously he’s not,” he said.

The director of Catholic education, Stephen Elder, said yesterday the primary school had accepted Max Hell’s enrolment.

“The issue of a change of surname of the child was an initiative of the parents, which they believed would assist the child in the transition of schools,” Mr Elder said in a statement. “The school is working with the family in the best interests of the child.”

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