Oxon Hill students seek to change name of school’s street


Student Government Association members at Oxon Hill High School, dressed up for spirit week Fashion Disaster Day, display their proposal to the county to change the school’s street name to Clipper Way to represent their mascot. (Daniel J. Gross/THE GAZETTE)
March 6, 2013

Students at Oxon Hill High School — “Home of the Clippers” — say their school spirit could become their road to success.

Oxon Hill’s Student Government Association members are seeking to legally change the name of their school’s street, Felker Avenue, to Clipper Way.

The still-under-construction Felker Avenue will serve as the new entryway from Oxon Hill Road to Oxon Hill High School when the school’s renovations are completed for the next academic year.

When SGA members learned of the plans for the new entryway school buses will use, the SGA sent a letter to the Prince George’s County Council to ask about having the street name better reflect the school and its “Clipper Pride.”

“Renaming this street would help to give a sense of pride in the new school, and raise morale for the Oxon Hill community,” the letter states.

SGA representatives said they are eager to work with the county to honor the school mascot. A clipper is a type of 19th-century sailing ship.

“If our school is one of the only buildings on the street, why is the street not named after us?” asked sophomore Nancy Sierra, 16.

Apart from the school building, the Clarion Hotel is the only other structure on Felker Avenue.

Derrick Coley, an aide to County Councilman Obie Patterson (D-Dist. 8) of Fort Washington, said that when there’s a request to change a street name more than 50 percent of the four affected property owners must sign a petition of approval, according to the county’s Regulations for Property Addressing guidelines.

Those owning property on the street are the Prince George’s County government, the county Board of Education, Oxon Hill Associates and Capital View II, which owns the Clarion Hotel.

Coley said the county has signed the petition and Oxon Hill Associates has expressed tentative approval but is waiting on a legal review before signing.

Coley said e-mails have been sent to Prince George’s County Public Schools interim Superintendent Alvin Crawley and representatives from Capital View II to seek their approval.

“We have been working on behalf of students,” Coley said. “If the SGA wants to change the name to boost school pride, that would be a slam dunk for the school.”

Students in Oxon Hill’s SGA said school spirit has always been an important issue among students and staff members.

“Being in school is a privilege, and having school spirit helps students appreciate things and helps them remember their school a bit better when they graduate,” said sophomore Zhande Hunter, 15. “This will bring a whole new legacy to the students.”

Oxon Hill’s principal, Jean-Paul Cadet, voiced support for student involvement.

“Clipper Way comes out of our slogan, ‘Clipper Way Equals Success.’ The road is symbolic to say that on Clipper Way, we’re on the road to success,” Cadet said.

Briant Coleman, a county schools spokesman, said he could not think of any other school group that changed a street name in recent memory.

Patterson said he applauded the students’ efforts in boosting school spirit.

“It is admirable that the Student Government Association at Oxon Hill High School conceived the idea of renaming Felker Avenue to Clipper Way,” he said. “The new Oxon Hill High School and a street named in honor of the school’s Clipper mascot will increase pride as students travel down the new road entrance.”

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