The name of a former Harlan County Schools superintendent will remain on the front of the school named in his honor in 1966.
Harlan County Board of Education members unanimously approved a slight change in the name of James A. Cawood High School on Thursday for the Hall Elementary School students moving there in August.
Board member Brenda Henson, who represents the district, suggested calling the school James A. Cawood Elementary School after a teacher and alumnus from Hall asked the board for a fresh start. James A. Cawood High School was vacated in May when the facility closed as a high school to form the new Harlan County High School with students from Evarts and Cumberland high schools.
“I graduated from Hall High School 47 years ago, and I’m very proud of that fact. It will always be Hall High School to me,” Henson said. “Back here behind me is (James A. Cawood High School). That’s been there for 42 years, and I taught out there for 25 years. With me, they’re the Trojans, and I would like for it be named James A. Cawood Elementary School... Hall High School is at Grays Knob. We just have to look on the wall to see how many elementary schools have been closed.”
Henson noted that there could be some confusion by keeping Cawood as part of the name with Cawood Elementary School only a few miles down the road.
“I know we have Cawood Elementary at Cawood, but this is going to be James A. Cawood,” he said.
The Hall Elementary School site-based council voted last week to ask the board to change the school’s mascot from Gamecocks to Trojans and the colors to red, white and Columbia blue from royal blue and white to match what was already being used at Cawood High School.
The council also agreed to ask the board to move the Hall Elementary School name to the new facility, but several council members had a change of heart. Teacher Holly Alred, who is a member of the site-based council, said teachers and students were in favor of a new name.
“We’d like to start anew,” she said Thursday. “We’d like to have a new identity.”
Brenda Rhymer, who told the board she had a daughter and grandson attending Hall Elementary School, said she was in favor of moving the school to the new facility but also wanted a new name.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea to use the building for children moving from Hall, but I think the name of the school needs to be changed, maybe to Browning Acres Elementary or some other name because it’s not feasible to use the blue and white colors at Hall school when the whole school is painted in Cawood High School’s colors,” Rhymer said. “The kids need an identity when they go in that front on the first day of school. It doesn’t need to say Cawood High School on it, and Hall is out at Grays Knob.”
The board also agreed to approve the official closing of Cumberland and Evarts high schools on June 30 and the official opening of Harlan County High School on July 1.
After hearing from Harlan County High School Principal Bob Howard, the board agreed to change its staffing plan to add a fourth assistant principal. Mike Jones, Bonita Duncan and Mark Bailey have already been selected as assistant principals.
Assistant superintendent Mike Howard warned the board that it had to be careful with its budget and could end up having to cut the position later.
“We’re not ending up with the savings at the new school that we originally anticipated, although we still do have savings,” Howard said. “We may have to come back and cut some later on.”
Architect David Samokar told the board that the school would open on time. Classrooms will be completed by the end of June, Samokar said, and the auditorium will be completed by the end of July.
Samokar said he hoped work could start soon on turning lanes off U.S. 119 after several delays during what he described as a “two-year process” in dealing with state highway officials.
In other action, the board recognized Rosspoint Elementary School and Cumberland High School for winning attendance awards.
Superintendent Tim Saylor also told the board that a new day care center would be operated at the James A. Cawood Elementary School building.
“It will be up and running by September,” Saylor said. “We’ve had meetings, and we’re very excited about this.”