HYDE PARK — A proposed name change has for South Shore International College Prep has been withdrawn.
Margarite Faulkner, the 8th Ward Republican Committeeman, on Monday withdrew her proposal to rename the high school at 7529 S. Constance Ave. after Willie T. Barrow, according to the South Shore Local School Council.
“She said the response from from the community got too negative, though she appreciated that they came out and supported their alma mater,” council Chairman Leverette Bryant said of the letter Faulkner sent Monday to withdraw the proposal.
Alumni of the school came out in force at a December council meeting, nearly unanimously against the proposal to rename the school after Barrow, a co-founder of Operation PUSH with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“This had nothing to do with Willie Barrow,” said Shannon Washington of the South Shore Alumni Association, who had helped rally alumni against the proposed name change. “We love and respect Willie Barrow, but we also love the history we’ve built at South Shore High School.”
Alumni — and even many on the Local School Council — were shocked to discover in September that when Faulkner formally proposed the name change, the council was required to hold two public forums and take a vote on a proposal that Bryant said likely never had more than three supporters.
Faulkner did not respond to requests for comment.
Bryant said both public forums, the first which was scheduled for Saturday, had been canceled.
He said the good thing that came out of the situation was it mobilized alumni who hadn’t been very involved in the school.
“The process really wasn’t a waste of time because it jelled everyone back together,” Bryant said.
Washington said many alumni learned the potential cost of not remaining active with the school.
“We were being selfish and we lost focus on what it really means to be an alumnus,” Washington said. “Because of our lack on engagement, this proposal was able to get this far.”
Bryant said the council would now return to business as usual, but with a mind toward keeping the hundreds of alumni activated by the name-change proposal engaged.
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