There's an art, a science, and sometimes a history, to naming things.
In the Prince George's County public school system, schools have been named after farms and land grants such as Black Swamp, Poplar Hill, Brookridge, Hedgeneck, Newton Hill and Oak Grove Academy.
Some schools also bear the names of their geographic area, such as Bowie, Gwynn Park and Bladensburg. These towns were in turn named for prominent local families.
But most parochial, and some public, high schools are named after persons of note and accomplishment. Honor doesn't necessarily mean remembrance, however. There are many theories of how these names came to be chosen, but these are some likely examples:Canterbury was named for the Canterbury Cathedral, the original seat of the Anglican (or Episcopalian) Church. The name also refers to the poetic and literary pilgrimage of Geoffrey Chaucer (author of "The Canterbury Tales") and the pilgrimage of students toward understanding and learning.Saint John DeMatha (meaning "from Matha," a French town) was the founder of the Catholic Order of the Most Holy Trinity, which was known for freeing the religiously persecuted and the slaves taken during the Crusades in the 12th century. The statue in front of the school includes a broken chain to represent that freedom. Brothers and priests in this order now work in schools, and as prison chaplains and in hospitals.Frederick Douglass, 1817-1895, was a noted abolitionist, orator, journalist, educator and United States envoy to Haiti. He was born into slavery in Tuckahoe, Maryland, and escaped to Massachusetts in 1838 where he joined the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. British admirers bought his freedom and raised money for him to start an abolitionist weekly paper, the "North Star" in 1847. He also aided in recruiting black troops for the Union Army.Gabriel DuVal, 1752-1844, was a U.S. Representative to the Third Congress, Chief Justice of the General Court of Maryland, first Comptroller of the U.S. Treasury and served as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for 23 years from 1811 through 1834. He was chosen to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, but declined.Bishop John McNamara, 1878-1960, a Baltimore native, was Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington for 32 years. He was one of the principal advocates for the canonization of Elizabeth Seton and took an intense interest in the secondary school education of Catholic children.St. Vincent Pallotti, 1795-1850, was a Catholic priest who worked for the good of the ordinary citizen and who was dedicated to involving people from all walks of life in the workings of the church. He was declared a saint on Jan. 20, 1963.Queen Anne was named for Queen Anne Episcopal Parish, in which the school is located. Queen Anne was the wife of Prince George of Denmark, for whom the county is named.Eleanor Roosevelt was U.S. First Lady, writer, lecturer and an extremely active participant in the political and social affairs of the country and the world. Originally, the school was to be named for her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in fact a sign with his name had already been installed on the school building. But local citizens argued that Eleanor Roosevelt had played a major role in the creation of Greenbelt, often visiting the town as the buildings were being constructed. Prior to the school's opening the Board of Education changed the name to Eleanor Roosevelt. A plaque stands near Greenbelt Lake noting that "her continuing interest helped to make real the dream of an ideal community."Elizabeth Seton was an educator and religious leader who founded the Sisters of St. Joseph, a teaching order. She was instrumental in the establishment of the parochial school system in the United States. She was canonized in 1975 as the first U.S.-born saint.