Summerton residents received news last week that Saint Paul Elementary would be changing their name to honor Clarendon School District One’s former superintendent Dr. Rose Wilder.
According to some, this change came as an absolute shock.
“Why would we name a school in the Summerton area in honor of a regular employee when we […] have the great honor of being the home to education pioneers,” asked SBHS Graduate Joseph L. Dingle in a Letter to the Editor. “This decision insults those pioneers.”
This ignited a spark that would lead to a petition, one that calls for the name to be changed, or at least reimagined.
“We, the  people and counting who disagree with this name change, should use a legitimate petition in the same peaceful manner to correct the mistake that was made,” wrote Dingle.
Some Summerton County Residents remember seeing the name covered on the building, but they never knew the reason why until the name was unveiled.
Wilder is not without her own accolades, however, and many claim to have no problem with her personally. However, they don’t see her time in CSD1 as comparable to some of the other names that have graced the schools history.
The majority of the names they saw as more fit come from the group of individuals that started the historic Briggs v. Elliot case. This case, which eventually ended segregation in Summerton, was also a monumental stepping stone in the path to nationwide desegregation. Names like Levi Pearson, Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry Briggs, Viola Pearson, and Annie Gibson are on the lips of a large amount of Summerton Citizens in the wake of the renaming. These individuals were the ones involved in the initial desegregation push, and those individuals, according to the petitioners, are more deserving of the honor.
“This was an opportunity to instill pride of a national magnitude in our students,” wrote Dingle. “To let them know they are receiving education and walking the halls in the footsteps of trailblazers.”
The petitioners have made it very clear, however, that Dr. Wilder is not without her own share achievements. They are, for the most part, proud of all she has done for the district. Their only grievance is that the areas rich history may be forgotten. To them, there is no better way to remember the ones that paved the path than to name the school they fought for after them.
At the time of print, the petition had 700 signatures, online and offline, and is growing. As for what change it will bring? Only time will tell.