James Brown Funk Spirit High School

It's just a name and not such a big deal… or is it?

This coming Thursday the city school board will discuss the naming of the third high school. The naming committee has narrowed the choices down to three: Carrboro High School, South Chapel Hill High School, and Howard and Lillian Lee High School. These names seem all rather boring, given that there were 69 other names that could have generated lots more controversy.

Community members suggested such names as: Charles Darwin High School, Cesar Chavez High School, Robert E. Lee High School, Edith Wiggins High School, Rockin' Ravens High School, and on and on. I personally got a laugh out of 'The Insufferable Chapel Hill High School of the South". What name would you choose and why?



You think naming the school after Howard Lee isn't controversial?

Dean Edwards Smith Senior High School

Would Lee, Robert E. be more or less controversial? There's a Robert E. Lee living on Zero Rd in Durham, so I guess it's not him that someone wanted to name the school after.

Actually, naming a school after the Dean isn't a bad idea. Beyond running a basketball program the right way for more than 35 years, he's been active his entire life in speaking out against injustice. He and the Lees are two very good choices for a school name. Among the 3 choices we have, Lee High School (which, I imagine, is what it will be popularly called) is a no-brainer.

I think Carrboro High School is the best choice. Some other cool ones would be Junius Scales High School and Libba Cotten High School — both have Carrboro connections, historical interest, and national renown. Another good one would be Pauli Murray High School, but I'm not sure if there's a direct Carrboro connection.

For a modest sum, how about "Wachovia High School" for the 1st 8 years?

I'm with you Damon. I love Elizabeth Cotten High School… and she was a 12 year old genius…

My guess is that we'll be seeing a MLK Jr. Blvd.-Historic Airport Road compromise: Carrboro High School of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System.

Watchoveryou High School would have paid the bills…

'Elizabeth Cotten High School' is perfect. I wish I had known her, but I feel that I have, and I know that I will.

How 'bout :"Chapel Hill High School at Carrboro"?

Libba Cotten High School.

OK Cam, let's get to the heart of the matter here. Some people live here because they want their children to have a 'Chapel Hill High School' education. How many people will be upset if their children get redistricted to 'Carrboro High School'?

It comes down to what the name 'Carrboro' connotes locally, regionally, and nationally. Does the school board think the Carrboro name connotes the right stuff? We'll find out...

BTW, I think Lee High School is out... one can easily make the case that the Lees are already getting the municipal building when they... meet the requirements... (a sad policy in some ways)

How about the "Rosa Parks High School". Actually wait, she was a high school drop-out.

Or maybe "Patrick Stewart High School". On second thought no - he was a drop-out also.

Maybe "Ray Charles High School"? Nope - drop-out.

Can't name it after Robert DeNiro, Sydney Poitier, Ansel Adams, Peter Jennings, Jack London, Aretha Franklin, Albert Einstein, Johnny Depp, Henry Ford (actually dropped out of elementary school), Leon Uris, and more...

How about the Blue Heaven Compulsory State-Run High School?

It really irks me that "Carrboro" isn't considered good enough by some folks. I'd much rather have my (future) child at Carrboro High than South Chapel Hill High in Carrboro. How confusing would that be? And, really, how insulting to the good people of Carrboro. If kids who live in Carrboro can attend Chapel Hill High, then kids in Chapel Hill can attend Carrboro High.

I think Lee High School is a terrible compromise since the other high schools are named for their geography. Total cop-out.

I suspect this bugs me because there are some weird class or other issues coming to play, and it's frustrating that people in our open-minded university town would fall prey to it.

Part of it is the real estate connection. It's the same reason Governor's Club in Chatham County has a Chapel Hill mailing address.

Bear in mind that there will be a new elementary school in Carrboro and a new middle school in Carrboro both of which will need naming as well. These two schools will be built just north of Lake Hogan Farms in the new Twin Creeks Park site on Old 86. So some of these fine ideas could be implemented there.

South Chapel Hill High School is totally unacceptable. The site is not in Chapel Hill.

I agree Mark, that would be silly. I think Carrboro High is the clear choice, and I would be very disappointed in any residents of our school district who would shy away from being associated with Carrboro.

In case I was misunderstood when I said "Chapel Hill High School at Carrboro", I was joking. Carrboro High is the natural choice, although I think Lincoln High School should get some consideration. Although East (or is it CHHS?) has appropriated the mascot.
If naming a school after Carrboro hurts the real estate market, let's change the names of ECHHS and CHHS.....
Mark M. Isn't Patrick Stewart the Star Trek II guy?

I got that you were joking Cam, but alas someone is serious about South Chapel Hill High. :(

Does anyone know if the final 3 names were the 3 most frequently submitted names? It would be good to know the tally... as a gauge of public opinion.

BTW, I did my civic duty and submitted 'Carrboro High School'.

Hmm... shall I check the records and report the names of all prominent citizens and elected officials who did not submit names?

I think that anything other than a geographic name would be silly given the context of our two other high schools. Carrboro High just makes sense,

I'm sold on 'Carrboro High School'. Make it so, Number One.

The notion of naming a high school based on real estate is ridiculous on many levels, but especially considering that Carrboro isn't exactly a dead real estate market itself. More importantly, while real estate markets might follow school systems, it's absurd to suggest a high school should be named to support real estate. I just don't get that one.

But is anyone actually suggesting that the high school should be named for Chapel Hill because of property values?

According to Saturday's CHH article, "Committee members who wanted South Chapel Hill High School contended it would preserve the 'national recognition and strong reputation associated with our other two high schools,' said schools spokeswoman Stephanie Knott in a memo to Superintendent Neil Pedersen, included with the school board agenda."

Also, "When the district opened East Chapel Hill High several years ago, board members chose the name to capitalize on the reputation of Chapel Hill High, which was nationally known for the high quality of its students Committee members also said if the new school was named Carrboro High School, it could be confused with Carrboro Elementary School, Knott said."

IMO, suspect arguments.

I completely agree with Fred :)

I completely agree with Tom :)

There's your real estate awareness connection in Fred's post.

Cam - yes, Patrick Stewart played the commander of the Enterprise.

I'd avoid the argument that because we did it one way the last time means we should do it the same way this time...

All of the flyers that I read about naming this school made a strong point of saying that our school system has a history of naming schools after prominent educators.

Is there any truth to the somewhat common belief that a comparable house with a Chapel Hill name goes for more dollars than one with a Carrboro name? My guess is that home values are more neighborhood dependent than town name dependent.

"South Chapel Hill High in Carrboro" is the most absurd name for an educational institution I have heard since a friend from the midwest tried to explain IUPUI to me.

If we wanted a name that reflected the spirit of Carrboro, and the strong commitment of many local citizens' lives to the life of the mind, we might consider something like "The Carrboro Athenaeum."

If not, then the proper name is indeed Carrboro High School.

We should then consider renaming Chapel Hill High "Carrboro High School of Chapel Hill Adjacent to Carrboro" and East Chapel Hill High "Carrboro High School of Chapel Hill A Wee Bit Further From Carrboro."

Fortunately, Carrboro has a Poet Laureate to assist in the daunting task of re-writing the existing high schools' fight songs to reflect the new names above while retaining rhyming verse.

Patrick, in all seriousness, I think this third high school has the potential to become nationally prominent beyond the prominence of the other two high schools. I think the school board may have to work hard to keep the 3 high schools on par.

The current poet laureate is Todd Sandvik. I don't know if he's written fight songs but, at last week's swearing-in, he "graced the audience with a poem he wrote about the town's transition and starting fresh again." (DTH)

It should be "Paris of the Piedmont High School," or perhaps the "Lycée de Paris-Piedmont."

Funny: OMFG! Star Trek references on Orange Politics? Weird. Fun. :) he he he

Serious: I recommend the name Malcolm X High School.

In the 70s, when the UNC system expanded by
accepting a half dozen economically-failing colleges, an
attempt was made to be consistent in names, e.g.
UNC-Ashville, UNC-Pembroke. However, alumnni and students of NCSU rebelled against UNC-Raleigh, so a compromise name was proposed: "The North Carolina State University of the
University of North Carolina at Raleigh", which of course
pleased no one. In this spirit I propose "The Carrboro
High School of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System at
Southwestern Chapel Hill". What an opportunity for a good football cheer.

I vote for Carrboro High.

Let's not overlook Carrboro Tie Dye High School, an interesting blend of the arts with the funky Carrboro spirit. Rock High appeals to my old hippie self, but probably shouldn't.

South Orange High School . . .

Soon to be shortened to

SO High

Did I really just read that "if the new school was named Carrboro High School, it could be confused with Carrboro Elementary School"?

You sure did, Chris. You know, in the central administration building stuff could get put in the wrong boxes and by mistake, some fourth grader could be issued his or her high school diploma!

This argument ranks right up there with the college admissions process and the reputation of the schools named "Chapel Hill." When I served on an admissions committee, these things we not left to assumption, as we had reams of data on the schools of the applicants. The data showed the GPA and SAT/ACT relationship of a district, school and class, as well as the performance of former admits from the same high school.

Didn't we hear these same arguments when we took basically the same kids and teachers and sent them to two schools instead of one? Is it accurate to say that the new school is out performing the old, irrespective of the name on the building?

I don't think it is accurate Fred. Tests scores certainly aren't the only factor that should be considered, but they are the indicator of choice around here. Per the recent NC School Report Card:

% Passing of End-of-Course tests:
Chapel Hill High:
White (1,756 tests taken): >95%
African Americans (377 tests taken): 63.4%
Hispanics (175 tests taken): 65.1%
Students with disabilities (295 tests taken): 64.7%
Economically Disadvantaged (318 tests taken): 59.4%

East Chapel Hill High
White (1,354 tests taken): >95%
African Americans (354 tests taken): 51.4%
Hispanics (105 tests taken): 73.3%
Students with disabilities (173 tests taken): 61.3%
Economically disadvantaged (280 tests taken): 57.9%

Mark warns that "someone" is serious about South Chapel Hill High. Others worry that Carrboro High doesn't carry the prestige of a Chapel Hill appellation.

The naming committee ostensibly represents the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District. If one influential member argues successfully for South Chapel Hill High, I would question the whole committee's thinking.

Thanks, Terri. I think I was remembering the best high schools in America rankings which was based on AP courses, but no longer remember the details.

East Chapel Hill placed 38 and Chapel Hill place 74. To me the huge disparity between AP scores and minority scores should be an alarm to everyone in the community, but that's not the point of this thread.

Joe notes:
"so a compromise name was proposed: “The North Carolina State University of the University of North Carolina at Raleigh which of course pleased no one."

In fact, the official name of NCSU IS "North Carolina State University at Raleigh" (G.S. 116-4)

In fact, in 1971 there was a big hoo-ha in town about the name of the entire system, which was simply "The Chapel Hill Administrative School Unit" with a board called the "The Chapel Hill City Board of Education". Carrboro denizens asked that the name of Carrboro be added to the name of the school unit.

Section 1. Section 1 of Chapter 254 of the Session Laws of 1955 is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence thereof and inserting in lieu thereof the following sentence:
"The governing body of The Chapel Hill Administrative School Unit shall be a Board of Education designated as 'The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education'."
Sec. 2. Chapter 254 of the 1955 Session Laws is hereby further amended by deleting the words "The Chapel Hill City Board of Education" wherever they appear and by inserting in lieu thereof the words, "The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education".
Sec. 3. Chapter 254 of the 1955 Session Laws is hereby amended by deleting wherever they occur the words "The Chapel Hill Administrative School Unit" and by inserting in lieu thereof the words, "The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Administrative School Unit".
Sec. 4. All references in the Session Laws to "The Chapel Hill Administrative School Unit" and to "The Chapel Hill City School Board" are hereby deleted. Inserted in lieu thereof in their respective places are the terms, "The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Administrative School Unit" and "The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board."
Sec. 5. This act shall become effective upon ratification.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 29th day of March, 1971.

Interestingly, the 1909 law setting up the Chapel Hill School System referred in the boundaries to "Franklin Street", "Mallett Street", "Rosemary Street" and "College Avenue". Since there is no current "College Avenue", I wonder if that is current Cameron Avenue or maybe Columbia Street, and if there was a big t0-do in renaming the street like was had last year with MLK?

Any idea who was behind the 1971 hoo-ha? How long had Carrboro been part of the system before the Carrboro name was added?

I've always thought it was odd that it is the "City" school system even though there is no "city" (according to NC law) in the district.

All NC systems are either "city" or "county". All "city" systems were carved out from the county, "City", "town" and "village" are synonymous in NC law, there is no legal difference.

To return from parsing the statutes:

Funny (or perhaps not so), that dominant themes in this discussion revolve around notions of 'Branding' and 'Prestige', and that these are actually figuring into the thought processes of those who would decide this issue.

How emblematic is this of the shallow and crass values that underly the veneer of our 'progressive' community? --Perhaps the same dynamic at play is the one which causes people to pay $55,000 to buy a poorly-built ($28,000), pedestrian Chevy Tahoe with a Cadillac grille and badge on the snout and accompanying 'Escalade' script on the door.

In the interests of truth in advertising, How about 'Trust Fund Pimpin' High'?. That should cover it for everybody except home-schoolers and the rarified (a)Friend's School and (b) Durham Academy crowd---Continuing automotive illustration---(a: Subarus: Cuz it's the height of probity and reticence to spend less on your car than tuition to keep your kids away from the great unwashed for one semester, and b: Rolls-Royces---well, It's D.A. after all...)

David, Your Idea regarding Libba Cotton is great, but we've already done it---The town's first, largest, and signature Bikeway--from Roberson to Merritt Mill, is the Libba Cotton Bikeway---This was Frances Shetley and Ellie Kinnaird's project, and they aptly chose the dedication.


How about Pauli Murray High School?

Carrboro High School is kind of perfect, though.

Thanks, Alex, for the info on Libba Cotton, I didn't know that. She was a great lady and I wish I had got to see her play. I think it would have been nice to have the school named after her for a number of reasons. I've changed my mind and now prefer Carrboro High School for reasons of simplicity and town pride.

Interesting debate, but I can't see any logical arguments against "Carrboro High".

It seems I read somewhere, a long time ago, that Carrboro is the largest town (population-wise) in North Carolina that doesn't yet have a High School in it. Can anyone verify that?



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