Discount new mulberry Outlet JCC decides on Rawls Byrd name change
Students were to be informed of the change to Laurel Lane during morning announcements, and the new name will be established by the first day of school on Sept. 5.
Laurel Lane is the street on which the school sits, and the school’s principal Karen Swann said the new name creates a sense of community in the neighborhood. It will be the fourth elementary school named for a location, as were James River, Stonehouse and Norge.
The Williamsburg James City County School Board will decide next month whether Rawls Byrd Elementary School will be named after the Glasshouse at Jamestown, Sarah G. B. Jones or Laurel Lane.
In May the board voted to change the name after activists highlighted the former superintendent’s poor track.”(Rawls Byrd) contributed a lot to this community, but it’s a different time and we move forward with the decision reached by the board,” Swann said. “We acknowledge that this change reflects the diversity of the community and at the end of the day, it’s about the teaching and the kids.”
During discussions leading up to the decision, board members hesitated renaming the school after a person, but that hasn’t stopped boards before them.
In addition to Rawls Byrd, nine of W JCC’s 16 schools are named for people. One school even honors two people with the same name.
At the Jan. 17 meeting, school board parliamentarian Julie Hummel (Williamsburg) said when people started talking about Rawls Byrd the man instead of Rawls Byrd the school; she realized she didn’t know the history behind the school’s namesake.
So who or what are the other W JCC schools named after?W JCC’s oldest school by far, Matthew Whaley Elementary School opened as Mattey’s Free School around 1706 to serve the area’s neediest children, current principal Robin Ford said. Mary Whaley opened it in honor of her son, Matthew, who died at nine years old.
There are rumors that young Mattey still haunts the place, though where the school is now is not its original space.
“Over the years different staff members have expressed that they’ve felt the presence of someone or something in the building at different times,” Ford said. “The children’s awareness seems to be limited to there are rumors that there are ghosts.”
According to W JCC documents, Mary Whaley left the school and its endowment to the College of William and Mary to continue using it for educating needy children. Before the location on Scotland Street opened in 1931, it was in a building where the Governor’s Palace is now in Colonial Williamsburg. Montague and J. Blaine Blayton.
Born in 1886,
Clara Byrd Baker spent her life teaching children and fighting for racial and gender equality in Williamsburg. In 1989, her legacy was formally recognized by W JCC schools when they named a new elementary school in her honor.
An African American teacher, Baker’s first assignment was in a one room James City County schoolhouse in 1902, according to the Dictionary of Virginia Biography, which details the lives of some prominent Virginians.
With the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, Baker is said to be one of the first women to vote in Williamsburg. She was a prominent member in many community organizations and promoted interracial cooperation and women’s rights. Montague Elementary School also opened in 1989, bearing the name of a former principal in W JCC schools. Montague presided over W JCC’s black high schools Bruton Heights and, after it opened, Berkeley High School until 1966.
After taking a break from the division, Montague returned as the director of placement and employee and community relations from 1973 until he retired in 1975.
J. Blaine Blayton opened his medical practice in Williamsburg in 1931 and settled to the south, in the Grove community with his family, according to w jcc records. He opened a maternity hospital and another 14 bed hospital for African Americans in the area, before helping open the first integrated one in 1961.
Blayton’s son, Oscar, was the first black person to attend William and Mary, enrolling as an undergrad in 1963, according to W JCC records. W JCC opened the school in his name in 2010.
Four years after the college, W JCC took on integration when it opened the Norge School in 1967 where white and black enrollment was roughly even, according to W JCC records. Because of the success at Norge, which served grades 1 6 at the time, the rest of the division officially integrated in 1969, according to W JCC records.
The name comes from the area in northern James City County where the school was established. Names for James River and Stonehouse elementary schools both stem from nearby geographical points as well.
One of the division’s newest schools,
Matoaka Elementary School opened in 2007 and takes its name from Pocahontas.