Group continues efforts to change name of Topsail Elementary at school board meeting

The Pender County Board of Education met on Tuesday night and many people spoke during public comment advocating for the name change of Topsail Elementary School.

BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — The Pender County Board of Education met on Tuesday night and many people spoke during public comment advocating for the name change of Topsail Elementary School.

A group is looking to change the name of Topsail Elementary School back to Annandale School.

Annandale was built in 1955 as an equalization school for Black students following the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. It was an eight-room school that cost $100,000 to construct. Annandale opened its doors in August of 1956. After integration around 1970, the name of the school was changed to Topsail Elementary.

Now, people like James Hansley are advocating for the Annandale name to be reinstated to preserve history.

At Tuesday’s meeting, several people spoke in favor of the name change but the board did not discuss the matter. Hansley says this will not stop their efforts and they will be back at the next meeting.

“I mean, they will see that we are meaning business and we want the name change,” Hansley said. “This is not a racial thing or anything. It’s something we want to be done for the history and the culture of our young kids to come up and know what we went through.”

After the meeting, board members declined to comment on the name change, except for Ken Smith. Smith was supportive of the name change for Burgaw Elementary School to return to its original name of C.F. Pope Elementary in 2020. He says his previous statements about preserving the history in the area are still true and he is supportive of the efforts of the Annandale alumni.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted unanimously to install a “Wall of Fame” in the board room highlighting accomplished alumni of Pender County Schools. One of the first alum to be recognized, Dr. Johnny Batts, who is a physicist who formerly worked at NASA. Dr. Batts spoke during the meeting in favor of changing the name of Topsail Elementary to Annandale, explaining schools like Annandale produced many accomplished people.

 

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