HAMPTON, Va. - Five schools in the Hampton City Schools district will have new names before the upcoming school year.
At Wednesday's meeting, Hampton City School Board members voted unanimously to change the names of the following schools:
- Booker Elementary to Albert W. Patrick III Elementary
- John B. Cary Elementary to Mary T. Christian Elementary
- Spratley Gifted Center to Ann H. Kilgore Gifted Center
- Tucker-Capps Fundamental Elementary to Mary W. Jackson Fundamental Elementary
- John Tyler Elementary to Mary S. Peake Elementary
In the spring of 2020, the school board started discussing the need to investigate the origins behind each of the division's school names and the potential need to rename schools. The process was disrupted by the pandemic, with both safety concerns and the focus on student academic performance.
However, this topic remained a priority for the board. In March of this year, members approved $150,000 in the FY22 school operating budget to address school renaming.
In a special school board meeting on April 27, the school board reached a consensus to rename the five schools. Based on a report, "A History of the Origins of Schools’ Names," from a research committee formed at the request of the board, it was a priority for these schools to be renamed as early as possible.
The board held a public hearing on May 12 to receive feedback from the community on the six names that board members suggested as the new school names for Booker, Cary, Spratley, Tucker-Capps and Tyler.
During the deliberation and later approval of the name changes at Wednesday's meeting, School Board Chair Joseph Kilgore shared the following about the selections:
Judge Albert W. Patrick III was a lifelong resident of Hampton. His devotion to the city led him to be very active in the community. He was especially interested in ensuring all children received a first-class education. Also, his daughter is currently an elementary school teacher in Hampton.
Mary T. Christian was a lifelong resident of Hampton and an elementary school teacher in Hampton for five years. She is noted for many accomplishments, including receiving numerous awards for her work on the integration of public schools.
Ann H. Kilgore valued education. Her mother was a teacher and principal, Ann herself was an English teacher in Hampton, and both of her daughters are former educators with one going on to be a superintendent of a school division. Ann Kilgore was the city’s first female mayor, had a strong presence throughout the city, and successfully integrated Hampton’s schools and businesses without litigation.
Mary W. Jackson, who was born in Hampton, was a scientist, aerospace engineer, humanitarian, and trailblazer who paved the way for thousands of others to succeed not only at NASA but throughout the nation. Jackson was the first African-American female engineer at NASA.
Mary S. Peake was a Hampton educator and humanitarian. She is known for conducting classes under the historic Emancipation Oak on the campus of Hampton University. Her love of education was so strong, she continued to teach despite her failing health.
The schools will be renamed before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.