On Wednesday morning, Craig Campbell, the principal of Dartmouth’s Prince Andrew High School, sent out a mass email. “I am writing to share some exciting news!” he began, going on to say “we are resuming the process of changing the name of Prince Andrew High School.”
The Woodlawn Road school first opened in 1960, and currently has an enrollment of about 800 students in grades 10 to 12. But its moniker has been a topic of debate since around 2011, when the school’s namesake—then known as Prince Andrew, Duke of York—became embroiled in a juvenile sex trafficking scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein. Although Randy Andy has categorically denied the accusations, he permanently resigned from public roles in May 2020 and his royal and military titles were stripped earlier this month.
Exactly how long the school administration has been debating changing the name is unclear, but the official process is scheduled to be complete by the time the 2022-23 school year begins in September.
“The name of a school should be reflective of our school community and uphold our values as a safe and inclusive learning place for all,” Campbell said in his letter to families. “Our hope is to continue to build our identity as a positive, supportive and respectful community, with a name to match.”
The school says it has formed a six-person renaming committee involving students, staff, advisory committee members and others from the community, who will gather name suggestions from the broader public in the coming weeks. Once compiled, a student vote will be held for the final name selection.
To help get the ball rolling, The Coast has begun a list of suggestions for the new name. We invite you to add your suggestions: Submit name(s), along with a short description of why, by emailing email@example.com, messaging us on social media or leaving a comment below.
Alexa McDonough High
When Alexa McDonough’s passing was announced last week, tributes poured in that spoke of the federal and provincial NDP leader as a “trailblazer” for women in Canadian politics as well as for social justice and diversity. Renaming this school after McDonough would surely inspire many students of all genders to pursue a life in politics and see a seat for themselves at the table. If there isn’t a seat? Make one.
Gloria McCluskey High
What could be more fitting than naming one of Dartmouth’s main high schools after its last mayor before amalgamation with Halifax in 1996? Gloria McCluskey has fought for Dartmouth like perhaps no one else has, and would likely burst with joy and pride at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a school bearing her name.
Rocky Jones High
A name synonymous with civil rights in Nova Scotia even after his death in 2013 at the age of 71. Rocky Jones was born in Truro but travelled to Toronto and through the US as a student organizer, being dubbed “Canada’s own Stokely Carmichael” by media at the time. Returning to Halifax a lawyer, Jones worked for Dalhousie Legal Aid before opening his own law firm centred around human rights, prisoner rights and labour law. Jones’ penchant for education, having helped create the Dalhousie Law School Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq Program, ties perfectly with having a school named in his honour.
Thomas Bernard High
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard hails from East Preston, and growing up she attended segregated schools until the eighth grade. Going on to become a social worker, Thomas Bernard was Dalhousie University’s first Black tenure-track hire in 1990 and helped found the Association of Black Social Workers. In 2016 she became the first African Nova Scotian woman to sit as a senator, showing Dartmouth youth, particularly Black women of colour, they can go far in life—something that would only be further reinforced if the school adopted her name.
Carrie Best High
In 1946, Carrie Best was the first Black owner and publisher of a newspaper in Nova Scotia, The Clarion. It was there that she published Viola Desmond’s story. Best went on to host a radio show, eventually wrote an autobiography, and received the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia. She was honoured with a Google Doodle just last month, and although she died in 2001, Best’s legacy could live on through this school—and who doesn’t want to go to a school called Best High?
Heidi Stevenson High
Before tragically being killed on April 19, 2020 during the Nova Scotia shootings, Heidi Stevenson worked for years in Dartmouth as a community liaison officer with the RCMP. The 48-year-old constable was known around town as a friendly face who would often appear at schools to educate children and make policing less intimidating—something more officers should strive to do. Stevenson’s legacy is one of love for community, which pair’s perfectly with the school’s new intended message.
Pronounced “boon-amoo-gwaddy,” this Mi’kmaq word is the original name for what is now known as Dartmouth. The word translates either to “Tomcod ground” or “salmon place” after the fish that were found in the nearby harbour. A school should be a place of learning, and if it adopted this name, learning and acceptance would be built-in.