The Mecklenburg County School Board voted Monday evening on the question of whether to make the phoenix the mascot for the new high school/middle school complex. There were three votes for the phoenix, two against, and two abstentions, with two absent. There was initially some confusion about whether the motion had passed, but the school division’s attorney has said that it failed, lacking one vote.
Nichols presented a compilation of survey results that were adjusted to take into account the fact that most students did not vote in the most recent surveys due to the summer holiday. Early on, the phoenix was a top choice of elementary and middle school students.
“Overall, as we’ve looked at the results, the phoenix has come out on top with the students’ vote, and then the community,” Nichols said.
Board members Kenneth Johnson, Gavin Honeycutt, and Chairman Dale Sturdifen voted for the phoenix. Wanda Bailey and Dora Garner voted against it. Brent Richey and Lindell Palmer abstained, and Glenn Edwards and Rob Campbell were absent. Richey had voiced concern about the fact that not all of the choices were listed in all of the surveys.
The school division has been offered a donation of a historic organ for its new auditorium. Dr. Barry Simmons Sr. and Paul “Mac” Abernethy Jr. came to the school board meeting to share pictures and details about the donation they would like to make of an organ that belonged to Abernethy’s father. The organ dates from 1927, and Abernethy said the school could spend $150,000 if they bought a comparable organ.
“It will do anything you want to do, from church services, to broadway musicals, to whatever you want,” Abernethy said.
Nichols also presented an update on the new school project and said that they are planning to move the remains in the cemetery on the property to another family cemetery.
Ann Garnett Miller addressed the board during the citizen comment portion of the meeting. She provided a list of the names of former Mecklenburg County high school principals, teachers, librarians, coaches, cafeteria workers, custodians and office personnel for consideration for the naming of halls, classrooms, auditoriums, gyms, libraries, cafeterias, and buildings. Miller also asked the board to give Bluestone Middle School to the alumni of West End after it is no longer in use as a permanent or temporary school, as it has been considered as a possible place to house elementary students while their own schools are being renovated.
“As alumni, we would like to have that building,” Miller said. “It means a lot to us.”
Miller said the alumni would use the building for their meetings, as well as other events.
The school board also had a discussion about dual enrollment. Nichols said the division is not currently phasing out dual enrollment, but it is not always possible to offer those classes because they must be taught by someone with a master’s degree. AP classes, on the other hand, do not require a teacher with a master’s degree, so it is easier for the division to be able to offer those.