Wake County’s next public high school will be named the Vernon Malone College And Career Academy.
The Wake County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to name the new career and technical education high school after the late civil-rights leader, state Senator and a chairman of both the board of commissioners and the school board.
Malone was the first chairman of the Wake County school board following the 1976 merger of the Raleigh and Wake school systems that he helped bring about.
Joe Bryan, chairman of the board of commissioners, said he couldn’t think of a better person than Malone, who died in 2009, to bear the name of the new high school. Bryan credited Commissioner James West with helping get the name adopted.
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This will be the first school in Wake named after a person since Adams Elementary School in Cary opened in 1969. Henry Adams was a Wake County school board member.
Monday’s vote means that this will be the first Wake high school to bear the name of an African-American leader since J.W. Ligon High School in Raleigh was converted to a junior high school in 1971. A long-running complaint from the African-American community has been that the only high schools in Wake that bear the name of people are for white community leaders.
The school board passed a resolution earlier this month backing naming the new high school after Malone.
The new high school is scheduled to open in August at the former Coca-Cola bottling facility on 2200 South Wilmington Street in Raleigh that’s currently being renovated by the county. It will the first high school in the district to focus on teaching students job skills.
In addition to receiving a high school diploma, students can choose from courses in 10 different career fields, such as cosmetology, plumbing and video-game design. The technical courses taught by instructors from Wake Tech will allow students to receive free college credit.