More than just a name: the stories behind Redwood students’ unique names

Sol Ladetzky

Parenthood comes with many difficulties. One must discipline their children, clean up every mess and organize meals. However, one of the most difficult actions a parent must take is deciding their child’s name. With the many factors that go into this decision – family history, cultural significance and modern trends – it is hard to settle on the perfect name. In order to avoid complication, some parents skip the chaos by choosing a basic name for their children. 

At Redwood, many students share common names. From 2001 to 2005, the most popular baby name for a girl was Emily and the most popular one for a boy was Jacob. According to the Redwood Log, there are currently 14 Jacobs at Redwood and 13 Emilys. It is not uncommon to walk into a classroom and be confronted by multiple students with the same name. Every once in a while, one may encounter a student with a unique name, including Erix Weitzman, Sedona Campbell and Yur Majesty Starbird.

Most popular baby names by state in 2003, the birth year of many Redwood sophomores and juniors. Data courtesy of the Social Security Administration. 

Erez “Erix” Weitzman

Sol Ladetzky
Senior Erez “Erix” Weitzman was given the opportunity to choose his nickname for himself when he first moved to the U.S.

Usually, a nickname is chosen by friends or family. It is a name that is easier to say or has a humorous story behind it. However, senior Erez Weitzman was given the chance to choose his own nickname when his family moved from Israel to the United States in 2007. 

“When I moved to the U.S., my parents wanted me to have an American name, so they let me choose a nickname. I wanted an ‘x’ in my name, and Erix is similar to Erez,” Weitzman said. “So when I was five, I basically chose the name ‘Erix’ for myself, and it has stuck since then.”

Overall, Weitzman is pleased with the name he chose for himself despite awkward comments on its uniqueness. Additionally, many of his friends have begun to normalize the name “Erix.” 

“It was hard [having a unique name] at first, but then I just let [it] go. If I’m at Starbucks, I’ll tell them my name is Eric to avoid the conversation of ‘That’s a cool name’ or ‘How do you spell that?’ But I’ve also realized that at both of the schools I [have gone] to, people started calling [kids named] Eric ‘Erix,’” Weitzman said.

Weitzman believes his two names represent two different sides of himself: he uses “Erez” in formal situations where he needs to be mature, while “Erix” is for more casual circumstances.

“[Erez represents] my core and where I’m from. Back in Israel, I was more focused on the important things and the bigger picture. It’s sort of a different identity, more of my true self. I would describe [that side of me] as family-oriented and moral. Erix is my side when I moved to the U.S, which is more fun and creative,” Weitzman said.


Sedona Campbell

Sol Ladetzky
Junior Sedona Campbell got her name from the town her parents honeymooned to.

Junior Sedona Campbell is named after the location of her parents’ honeymoon. After the 9/11 attacks, her parents canceled their trip to Europe and drove to Sedona, Arizona instead. On their honeymoon, they fell in love with the town’s beauty and history and agreed the location’s name was the ideal name for their first daughter. 

“One day they were sitting in the hotel lobby, and some random guy asked them if they knew why this town is named Sedona,” Campbell said. “He told them that Sedona was a very important historical figure that did a lot to benefit the town and its people. My parents thought that was sick and decided on the name.”

Campbell values the connection she has with the town. In 2018, she took a trip to visit the place she was named after. Although during her trip people often questioned the validity of her name, Campbell enjoyed seeing her name everywhere she went. Due to its uncommon nature, Campbell rarely sees her name on personalized souvenirs or other products.

“When I was little, all I wanted was a license plate or something at a store that had my name on it, and it was never there. So when I went to Sedona, Arizona, I literally bought everything with my name on it,” Campbell said.


Yur Majesty Starbird

Sol Ladetzky
In order to avoid racial prejudice, sophomore Yur Majesty Starbird was given a name that has a fixed level of respect to it.

Commonly known as Valentino or Tino, sophomore Yur Majesty Starbird has arguably the most original name at Redwood. Starbird’s mother did not want him to be treated with disrespect due to his African American heritage, so she gave him a name that often refers to someone in a position of power. However, she did decide to spell “Yur Majesty” in an unusual way to make Starbird’s name less royal. 

“I got the name because of the color of my skin. When people refer to me, they have to show a basic level of respect because of my name,” Starbird said.

When he was seven, Starbird was given the nickname Valentino because his birthday is on Valentine’s Day. Starbird originally wanted a nickname because other children would make fun of his name or pretend he was a king. While his name is not frequently the subject of jokes anymore, he has observed that it does not always give him the respect his mother wanted it to. 

“I’ve noticed that certain people don’t want to say [Yur Majesty] when they talk to me. Even when I have subs they only say ‘Yur’ or look at the paper and ask someone to help [them] with it because it doesn’t feel right for them to call a student ‘Yur Majesty,’” Starbird said.

Despite the fact that Starbird has not noticed an added level of respect from his name, Starbird has begun to make the switch back from “Tino” to “Yur Majesty” because it makes him feel more confident in himself. Starbird hopes that one day he will be known fully as Yur Majesty. 

“I would still introduce myself as Tino if I meet someone, but I’m probably going to start saying Yur Majesty more,” Starbird said. “As I get older, I want everything under one name. I want it to be the name on my birth certificate so that it’s not a fake person because Valentino is not a real person.”