Board gets update on naming Darlington school

March 26, 2019

DARLINGTON, S.C. - Darlington County Board of Education members got an update Monday on the process of naming a new $18.3 million elementary school for the Darlington area.

A 10-member school identity committee is working on recommending a name, mascot and school colors for the new school.

The new school will replace the existing Cain Elementary School and the existing Brunson-Dargan Elementary in Darlington, which will be consolidated. It is being built on the Cain site.

The committee is soliciting suggestions for a possible name for the school through April 7. Suggestion forms will be distributed through the two schools and in the community. Suggested names for the new school can be submitted in multiple ways:

>> Mail or deliver a completed suggestion form to the Darlington County School District Office of Communications.

>> Call the communications office at 843-398-2284.

>> Fax suggestions to 843-398-5254.

>> Bring a completed form to the main offices of Cain Elementary School or Brunson-Dargan Elementary School.

>> Email suggestions to audrey.childers@darlinigton.k12.sc.us.

The committee will narrow the field of suggested names to a manageable list and ballots will be prepared and distributed to Cain and Brunson-Dargan students, parents, teachers, staff and community members who live in Darlington 29532 and 29540 zip code areas. The voting period will be open for three weeks.

Names suggested so far include C.C. Wearing Elementary School, Cain Brunson Dargan Elementary, Cain-Dargan Elementary, CainDar Elementary, DarCain Elementary, Darlington Early Learning Academy, Darlington Elementary, Darlington Elementary School of Innovation, Dreamgate Elementary, Eastside Academy, Eastside Elementary School, First Street Elementary, Harmony Elementary, Innovation Academy School, Innovative Elementary, J.L. Cain Elementary, Little Willie J. Gee Elementary, Terrance Carraway Elementary and Willie E. Boyd Elementary.

“Because we’re doing this for the first time, we’re learning as we go,” said district spokesperson Audrey Childers, who is working with the committee.

The committee also solicited suggestions for a mascot and narrowed the list of possible selections to four –- a tiger, an eagle, a bear and a hawk – after students, staff, parents and the community voted. The tiger led in the initial voting.

School colors will be selected only ater a mascot and school name have been decided on.

District officials stressed that the school board will make the final decision about the name, mascot and colors for the new school.

District officials said the district will follow the same process in naming two other new elementary schools being built in the district, one in Hartsville and one in Lamar. The Hartsville school will replace West Hartsville and Washington Street elementary schools. The Lamar school will replace Lamar and Spaulding elementary schools.

But officials do not anticipate the naming of those two schools to be as sticky as naming the Darlington school. Cain and Brunson-Dargan are named for prominent Darlington educators.

Cain is named for James Lawrence Cain (1870-1944), a pioneer black educator and principal of Mayo School for 41 years.

Brunson-Dargan is named for Susannah Woods Brunson (1872-1958), a former high school principal at St. John’s School, and Margaret Keith Dargan (1876-1967), a former teacher and grammar school principal at St. John’s.

The three new schools are being built at a cost of about $60 million. Darlington County voters approved a one-cent sales tax in a 2016 referendum to fund construction of the new schools.

The new schools will replace six smaller schools all over 50 years old. District officials say aging schools present challenges in maintenance, security measures and the ability to handle current and future technology needs.