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OCPS School Namesakes Reflect 150 Years of History
OCPS School Namesakes Reflect 150 Years of History

OCPS currently has 21 schools named after people, most with local ties. While OCPS policy allows schools to be named after people, it has been uncommon in recent years. Four OCPS schools are named after a woman and 17 are named after men.

Elementary schools:

Dr. PhillipsPhilip PhillipsThe two OCPS schools and the area of Orange County named Dr. Phillips are named after Philip Phillips (1874-1959), a citrus magnate and medical doctor with extensive land holdings in the Sand Lake area. Phillips and his wife were known for their philanthropy, and a foundation today continues that work. A number of his causes were in the health care arena. His son, Howard, built the original Dr. Phillips Elementary, which opened in 1979.

Eccleston - Cecil EcclestonThe school’s namesake is local dentist Dr. Cecil L. Eccleston, who was an active part of Orlando’s African American civic and community groups, including the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, from 1928 until his death in 1948. The school sits on land Dr. Eccleston originally donated for the Eccleston-Callahan Memorial Hospital for Crippled Children, which also included a school that opened in 1952. The site was transformed into a public elementary school in 1958.

William Frangus – The school was named after musician-turned-educator William Frangus who died in 1992, the year the school opened. He served as principal in the 1960s and 70s at Robert E. Lee and Howard junior high schools and was also principal at Maynard Evans High. Frangus served as a two-term member of the Orange County School Board, but his legacy is closely tied to music. He hosted a local radio jazz show for 25 years and added music programs as principal of both Howard Junior High and Evans High.

Hungerford – Hungerford Elementary is named after E.C. Hungerford, a white landowner who donated land in 1898 so it could be used to build a vocational school for African Americans in Eatonville. The nearby vocational high school was named after his son, Dr. Robert Hungerford, and closed in 2009. The elementary school opened in 1956.

John YoungJohn YoungJohn Young Elementary is named after astronaut John Young (1930 – 2018), who grew up in College Park. He was a naval officer and aviator, test pilot and aeronautical engineer. He became the ninth person to walk on the moon as commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Other space missions include Gemini 3, Gemini 10, Apollo 10, STS-1 and STS-9. The school opened in 1990.

Lawton ChilesLawton ChilesChiles (1930-1998) represented Florida in the U.S. Senate from 1971 to 1989. He later became the governor of Florida, serving from 1991 until his death in office in 1998. The school opened in 1999 and is one of several in the state named after the governor, who increased funding for school construction statewide.

Lovell W.A. LovellLovell Elementary is named after William A. Lovell, who was the first superintendent of Orange County Public Schools in 1869. He was one of Apopka’s pioneers, a Confederate soldier and a successful businessman. He had 11 children, and some of his descendants attended the re-dedication of the school in 2015 after a renovation that included the construction of a new main building.

William S. Maxey – Maxey was principal for 28 years at the Charles R. Drew School, which was a consolidated school for African American students in Winter Garden. Over the years it served students from grades 1 to 12. Maxey served as principal at Drew High for 28 years and was known for helping upgrade the quality of education available to African American students in his community. He retired in 1965. When the elementary was split off from the multi-age school in 1966-67, it was named Maxey. Drew High closed in 1970.

Michael McCoyCol. Michael McCoyMcCoy Elementary, located near the Orlando International Airport, is named after Col. Michael McCoy (1905–1957), a legendary pilot who was the commander of the 321st Bombardment Wing based at Pinecastle Air Force Base. He was killed when his plane went down in Orlando during a demonstration flight of a B-47 bomber. The base was renamed McCoy after him in 1958. The airport was later built on the land and retains the McCoy abbreviation (MCO) as its airport code.

Mollie RayMollie RayMollie Ray Elementary is named after early education leader Mollie E. Ray, who was one of the teachers in Orlando’s single school in 1903. She was associate principal of the school in 1912, and when additional schools were built in 1920, she became principal at Delaney School. She was later a principal at Grand Avenue School, which opened in 1926.

Sally RideSally RideAn aviation and aerospace academy is based at Sally Ride Elementary, which is named after the astronaut (1951-2012) who was the first American woman in space in 1983. Later a professor of physics, she served on the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters. The school was named in 2018 when Durrance and Cypress Park elementaries merged.

Phillis WheatleyPhillis WheatleyWheatley (1753-1784), was the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her to write. She was emancipated in 1773, shortly after her book was published.

K-8

Blankner - Frances BlanknerBlankner School, originally an elementary school, was named after Frances Emma Leake Blankner, the first woman elected to the Orange County School Board. She was a teacher at several schools and president of the Orlando High School PTA. In 1928, she won a spot as a trustee for the Orlando District of the county school system, and in 1942 was the first woman elected to the countywide Board of Public Instruction. She became chairman in 1955 and served until her death in 1956.

Middle schools:

Carver – Carver was named after George Washington Carver, the most prominent African American scientist of the early 20th century. He worked to improve the condition of soils depleted by the planting of cotton, promoting alternative crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. He was also an early environmentalist.

Howard – Originally named Orlando High School, Howard was repurposed as a junior high school in 1952 when two new high schools were built. The school’s second name came from C.E. Howard, chairman of the board of trustees in 1926, when the school’s cornerstone was laid.

Stonewall Jackson – The school was named after the Confederate general in 1965 in what was then understood to be a gesture against integration.

Judson B. Walker  – Judson WalkerWalker was an Orange County superintendent from 1932 to 1956. Early in his career, he implemented austerity measures to deal with a financial crisis and oversaw an extensive school construction program. He supported segregated schools and added high school grades to the African American Wheatley School in Apopka and Drew School in Winter Garden.

High schools:

William R. BooneWilliam BooneBoone was the longtime, beloved principal of Orlando High School for most of its years between 1926 and 1952, when it was on Robinson Street. Two new high schools were set to open in the fall of 1952, and Boone was to be principal of the south high school. When he died suddenly at Orlando High School on June 6, 1952, the new south high school was named after him. The north high school was named Edgewater.

Dr. Phillips – See Dr. Phillips Elementary above.

Maynard Evans – Evans (1891-1952) was a county commissioner, a member of an Orlando pioneer family and a co-owner of a chain of local drug stores. Evans was also a former member of the Orange County School board and a trustee for the racially segregated Orlando Junior College, which later merged with Lake Highland Preparatory School.

Jones - LC JonesL.C. Jones was principal of the main school for African American students in Orlando from 1912 to 1932. The school, initially named Johnson Academy, was renamed after the Jones family donated land for a replacement school at Washington Street and Parramore Avenue. During his tenure, more upper grades were added, and the first senior class graduated in 1921. When a larger Jones High was built, the old campus was renamed Callahan Elementary and is now a community center.

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