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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Residents choose 'Mason Crest' as name for new Annandale Elementary School

Residents of the communities surrounding the elementary school under construction in Annandale who came to a meeting last night to discuss possible names for the school chose—drum roll, please—Mason Crest. Their second choice is Masonville.

Those two names will be submitted to Superintendent Jack Dale, and he will recommend one or more names to the school board. The public will have a chance to testify on the school name twice—when the board considers the name as new business, and again as an action item, said Mason school board member Sandy Evans. The school board will make the final decision.

During the FCPS-run meeting at Falls Church High School, John Grutzik said his family came up with the name Mason Crest to honor Founding Father George Mason and because the school is on Crest Lane.

There was strong sentiment for Masonville, which was the name of the original school on that site. After the school was closed in 1980, due to under enrollment, the building was used for Fairfax County Public Schools administrative offices and renamed the Lacey Center.

The Broyhill Crest Community Association, which serves the neighborhood where the school is located, passed a resolution in favor of resurrecting the Masonville name. Alumni from the original Masonville Elementary School also wanted to retain that name for sentimental reasons. In addition, it was noted at the meeting that the school had been—and will again be—the polling place for the Masonville precinct.

Several people from communities that have been shifted into the new school’s attendance area spoke in favor of selecting a new name to reflect a fresh start, although several people said they were okay with keeping the “Mason” from “Masonville.”

Monica Buckhorn, whose children will transfer from Belvedere Elementary School, proposed Mason Hills. “We want Mason in the name, and all the communities coming together want a new start,” plus most of those communities have hills, she said. In addition to Belvedere, the new school will draw students from Beech Tree, Woodburn, and Annandale Terrace.

One parent said her daughter wants the school to be named for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, in recognition of her role as a modern first lady and supporter of the arts, while her son proposed Ruby Bridges, in honor of the first black student to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans.

Other names proposed were Crest View, North Annandale, and Obama. After the names were discussed, there was a proposal to also consider the name Mason.

There was general agreement that Masonville was named for Virginia resident George Mason, the author of the Bill of Rights. One member of the audience noted that Mason was a slave owner, and the original Masonville Elementary School was opened during a period of segregation. “We don’t have to go back to that history,” he said.

Only people at the meeting who live within the school’s attendance were allowed to vote, and there was one vote per household. Names were written on large pieces of paper attached to the wall, and voting was done with stickers. Each voter was allowed three votes and was given a green sticker for their first-place choice (worth three points), a yellow sticker for second place (two points), and red for third choice (one point).

During the first round, Mason Crest got 33 points, and Masonville got 22. Mason came in third with 11. None of the other names got more than five votes. A run-off vote was taken (with each voter given one orange sticker worth one point). Mason Crest got 10 points and Masonville got seven.

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