Topsail Annandale Elementary celebrates ribbon cutting for new sign

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Members of the community gathered in Hampstead on Thursday morning to celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the new sign at Topsail Annandale Elementary School.

The Pender County Board of Education voted to rename Topsail Elementary School to Topsail Annandale Elementary School in August. It came after people like James Hansley, who is an Annandale School alumni, regularly spoke at the school board meetings advocating for the change.

Annandale School opened its doors in 1956 as an equalization school for Black students. After it was integrated, it was renamed Topsail Elementary School in 1969.

After a little more than a year, Thursday marked the ribbon-cutting for the new sign donning the school’s new name. The sign was made by woodworking students at Topsail High School.

For people like Hansley, it’s more than just a name.

“It’s more than a name, it’s history,” Hansley said. “I said once before, they can have the house, we wanted the name. That’s what it means to us.”

Early on, Pender County Board of Education Member Ken Smith supported the efforts to recognize the history behind Annandale. On Thursday, Smith cut the ribbon for the sign as board chair.

“We need to remember our history and to honor those that came before us and this is exactly what this is — bringing Topsail Annandale that name together so that everyone can see where they came from and hopefully the great future we’ve got in store for us,” Smith said.

Annandale alumni, teachers, and a former superintendent were honored during the ceremony with roses and plaques.

“It’s such an honor to have the teachers that taught me and the other students in the first grade and all and to have our superintendent here to be able to celebrate this day with us,” Hansley said. “It’s just a great day. It’s history.”

Remembering history for a better future, Hansley hopes the next generation will learn from the people who came before them.

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