Friday, January 17, 2014
About 25 residents of the Brownsville and Greenhurst neighborhoods attended the Jan. 13 meeting of the Dorchester District 2 Board of Trustees to request that the board name two of the new elementary schools Alston Elementary and Sandhill Elementary, respectively.
Violet Smith-Saylor of the Alston Heritage Foundation spoke on the history of the Alston schools and the importance of honoring Dr. J.H. Alston.
She gave a history of the schools that Dr. Alston was instrumental in building in the community. Without the school being named for him, a part of African American history will disappear, she stated. (Alston Middle School will remain Alston Middle School.)
Deacon Louis Fowler also spoke, requesting the board pay heed to the importance of the two communities’ identities.
“There is more to a name than the name itself,” she said.
She handed in petitions regarding names.
Finally Louis Smith spoke and requested that the board pay attention to the joining of forces of the Alston Heritage Foundation, Robynwyn, Lowcountry Black Historical Society and the Community Resource Center and what he said were “a thousand names” referring to the petitions for the common goal of naming the schools Sandhill and Alston.
The board agreed that naming a school after a person has impact but also noted there were other individuals who had given a lot to the district and their names should be considered.
According to Public Information Officer Pat Raynor, the petitions submitted contained 105 signatures for the name Alston Elementary and 88 signatures for Sandhill Elementary for a total of 193 signatures.