Pender County School Board votes to rename Topsail Elementary School
PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Pender County Schools Board of Education has voted to change the name of Topsail Elementary School.
A group of people in Pender County has been advocating for months has been advocating for months to change the name of Topsail Elementary School to Annandale School. Annandale was built in 1955 as an equalization school for Black students in first through eighth-grade. Its name was changed to Topsail Elementary in 1969.
James Hansley is an Annandale School alumnus and has spearheaded the effort to change the name of the school. Previously, he said he and other members of the community wanted to see the school’s original name restored to preserve African-American history in Pender County.
“It was history for us because it was something that we wanted back. We didn’t get quite what I thought we should get, but we got Annandale,” Hansley said. “Now we can go into the schools, talk to the students and work with them, and form our alumni groups. We can move forward now. It was hard to move forward when we didn’t have the name to work with.”
Board member Ken Smith made the motion to rename the school Topsail-Annandale Elementary School and the motion was seconded by Cindy Fontana.
Beth Burns said the board received some emails concerned about the revision because of all the changes students have gone through in recent years. However, she said she thought combining the names was a good compromise.
After some discussion, the board voted unanimously to make the change to Topsail-Annandale Elementary. Ken Smith said the decision is about history.
“There’s going to be a generation that’s going to come after these men and women who have spoke to us the last year,” Smith said during the discussion. “Once they’ve gone on and leave this world, what will that next generation remember?”
The name change is not going to be immediate. Over the next few months the board intends to slowly change signs, branding, and more. They hope to get funding help from Annandale School alumni to pay for the changes.