Students at Whiskey Bottom Road Elementary School in Laurel say they will no longer have to endure taunts and wisecracks about whiskey guzzling or being at the bottom of the barrel.

The Howard County School Board voted unanimously last week to rename the school Laurel Woods Elementary School.

Fifth graders who went before the board in May argued that the school's original name, taken from an old wagon trail in the area, is doubly negative.

Board members said the students were persuasive.

"This generation, with all they've been taught about abusing alcohol and substances, to go to a school with 'whiskey' in the name seemed hypocritical perhaps," said Deborah Kendig, the board's vice chairman.

The new name refers both to the school's location and to the laurel plants that grow in abundance in the woods near the school.

Most students are happy about the board's decision.

"I'm proud," said Jason Testman, one of the students who pushed for the name change. "I thought they never would change it. It was a lot of work."

But student Nicole Midkiff said the "Whiskey Bottom" name "doesn't really bother me, because I'm going to Hammond Middle {School} next year."

As part of a class project this spring, Testman and about 25 other fifth graders researched the origin of the name Whiskey Bottom and polled fellow students about how they felt about the name. The students' research showed that the name Whiskey Bottom had no real historical significance, despite the vague recollections of longtime residents.

The school opened in 1973. And efforts to change its name date back at least 10 years, Kendig said.