Have you ever wondered what any of the local high schools are named after? Some are fairly obvious and well known, but others aren’t. We decided to take a look at the 26 MCPS high schools and the origin of their names.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
Named after two of the areas the school serves, the name Bethesda was taken from Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda. In Aramaic, Bethesda means “House of Mercy.” In Hebrew, it means “House of Kindness.”
Chevy Chase was named after the Chevy Chase Land Company, a real estate development company that was founded in 1890. At that time, they purchased land stretching from DuPont Circle to Jones Bridge Road. The name Chevy Chase is derived from the Medieval English Ballad of Chevy Chase.
Montgomery Blair High School
Montgomery Blair was a politician and lawyer from Maryland. He represented Dred Scott in the 1852 Supreme Court case that decided 7-2 against Scott, finding that neither he nor any other person of African ancestry could claim citizenship in the United States. This decision was later nullified in 1863 after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Blair also served at Postmaster-General in the Lincoln Administration cabinet from 1861-1864 (during the Civil War).
James Hubert Blake High School
The school was originally going to be named after The Muppet Show creator and University of Maryland graduate, Jim Henson. When his estate declined the honor, the school was named after James Hubert Blake.
Blake was a Baltimore ragtime musician of the early and mid-20th century. On his 92nd Birthday, Blake said “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
Winston Churchill High School
After spending 3 years known as “Potomac High School,” (a few have commented that it was known as “North Potomac High School”) the school name changed in 1967 to honor Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II.
Winston Churchill also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his lifetime body of work.
Clarksburg High School
The high school is named after the area it is located in. Clarksburg is named for Trader John Clarke and was established at the intersection of the main road between Georgetown, Frederick, and an old Seneca trail.
Damascus High School
The high school was named for the area it is in. Damascus was originally named “The Pleasant Plains of Damascus” after Damascus, Syria.
Damascus was incorporated for a 34 year period in the late 20th/early 21st century, but the townspeople requested incorporation be withdrawn so that Old Quaker Rd. could be paved into a state highway.
The Thomas Edison High School of Technology
A vocational/technical high school in Wheaton, Edison is different than other MCPS high schools in that students typically spend half their day there and the other half at their home school.
The school is named after Thomas Alva Edison. Edison has been described as “America’s greatest inventor.” He is the inventor of the motion picture camera, the incandescent light bulb, and many more items that have been groundbreaking and useful throughout time.
Albert Einstein High School
The school is named after German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein. He is best known for his mass-energy equivalency formula E = mc2, which is considered the “world’s most famous equation” by many.
Einstein has four academies as part of the Downcounty Consortium, the largest one being The Visual and Performing Arts Academy.
Gaithersburg High School
Gaithersburg High School was founded in 1904 as “Gaithersburg School” and offered grades K-12.
The school/city is named after Benjamin Gaither. Gaither built his home near what is present day Summit Hall in 1802 when Gaithersburg was known as Log Town. The name was changed to Gaithersburg in the 1850s.
Walter Johnson High School
The school is named after the late Washington Senators pitcher, Walter Johnson. Johnson lived nearby in a Bethesda home that still stands a few miles from the school on Old Georgetown Road.
Walter Johnson retired to Germantown in 1933, where he owned a farm in the location where the Gunners Lake community is in present day. He was elected as a Montgomery County commissioner in 1938.
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John F. Kennedy High School
The original plan was to name the school “East Wheaton High School,” but due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the school was re-named after him.
John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. Kennedy was a member of the democratic party and represented the state of Massachusetts in the House of Representatives and State Senate prior to his presidency. Commonly referred to as “JFK,” he was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963.
Colonel Zadok A. Magruder High School
The school is named for Colonel Zadok A. Magruder. Magruder was a Revolutionary War patriot and farmer. He moved to Montgomery County as a young man and ater on he inherited 600 acres of land in the Norbeck area before building a home in Redland in 1750.
Magruder helped establish Montgomery County’s government in 1776.
Richard Montgomery High School
Richard Montgomery is the oldest high school in MoCo. It was established in 1892 and was then known as Rockville High School. Rockville Colored High School opened in 1927 so the school was re-named after Richard Montgomery in 1935 to distinguish between the two.
Richard Montgomery was an Irish-born soldier who first served in the British army. Montgomery later took on the patriot cause and fought for America during the Revolutionary War. Montgomery County is named after him.
Northwest High School
Northwest High School was Germantown’s second high school and was established in 1998 to alleviate some of the crowding at Seneca Valley High School.
The school is named for its geographic location. It is located in the northwest part of the county and serves students from Germantown as well as a small portion of students from Gaithersburg and Darnestown.
Northwood High School
Northwood High School was established in 1956 and was closed in 1985 in a contested decision that aimed to alleviate the concentration of minority students enrolled at Blair High School. The school reopened in 2004.
The school was named after the area it was in (then known as Northwood). While I wasn’t able to find information on the origin of the Northwood name, the school’s mascot during their first 29 years of existence was the Indians. A 2001 vote by the Board of Education banned ethnic and race-based team mascots at county schools, so alumni from the first graduating class in 1958 and the first class of the new Northwood chose the Gladiators as the new mascot.
Paint Branch High School
The school was founded in 1969 . Their fight song, ‘Hail to the Panthers,’ is sung to the tune of ‘Hail to the Redskins.’
The school was named after Paint Branch Creek, a 14 mile long stream that flows through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.There’s even a College Park based band known as Paint Branch Creek.
Poolesville High School
The core of the building, which still stands, was built in 1911 when the school was established. From 1911 until 2002, the school mascot was the Indians until the school’s students voted to change the mascot to the Falcons, following an initial vote to keep the mascot that was overruled.
The school and town are named after John and Joseph Poole. The brothers owned 160 acres of land in the area that was later named after them. The town was actually legally known as /The Commissioners of Poolesville’ until 2010 when residents voted to change the name to ‘The Town of Poolesville.’
Quince Orchard High School
A relatively new school, established in 1988, the school won a 4A Maryland State Football Championship in 1991 just 3 years after opening (they won a second time 16 years later, in 2007).
The school was named after a quince orchard that existed across from the school’s current location. A quince is a yellow fruit that looks similar to a pear.
Rockville High School
Not to be confused with the original Rockville High School, which was later re-named Richard Montgomery, this school was named after the city it’s in.
Before settling on the Rockville name, the area was called Owen’s Ordinary (there’s currently a Pike & Rose restaurant with the same name), Hungerford’s Tavern, and Daley’s Tavern. Rockville was later chosen because the region was crossed by Rock Creek. At the time, Rockville Pike was known as “Rock Creek Main Road.”
Seneca Valley High School
The school currently sits on the land that was once a farm owned by late Washington Senator’s pitcher, Walter Johnson. The school is due to be demolished with a new building coming in 2020 that would be the largest in Montgomery County.
The name comes from the Native American tribes of the Great Seneca Nation, who once lived in the area. Many early homeowners in surrounding areas found arrowheads in the ground.
Sherwood High School
Established in 1906, it is the third oldest high school in Montgomery County (after Richard Montgomery and Gaithersburg).
The school is named after the farm that was once on the land the school was built on. The farm was named “Sherwood Farm” due to the many trees on the property, which reminded settlers of Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest.
Springbrook High School
Springbrook is part of the Northeast Consortium, along with Blake and Paint Branch High Schools.
The school is named after the upper Northwest Branch spring-fed tributary that runs along side of the school’s property.
Watkins Mill High School
Even though the school is surrounded by Montgomery Village, the address has remained Gaithersburg.
Watkins Mill is named for one of the grist mills where corn was ground up. The Watkins family once lived in the area and owned/operated one of the mills.
Wheaton High School
The area of Wheaton was previously known as Leesborough until 1826.
Wheaton is named after the Union General, Frank Wheaton. Fun fact: The inventor of the first home television set, C. Francis Jenkins, lived in Wheaton, at Windham Ln and Georgia Ave.
Walt Whitman High School
Whtman was established in 1962. 30 years later, the building was demolished and a new building was constructed. It opened in 1993.
The school is named after Anerican poet and journalist, Walt Whitman. Whitman is perhaps best known for his poetry collection, specifically Leaves of Grass.
Thomas S. Wootton High School
Wootton was once named the 17th best high school in the United States by Newsweek.
The school is named for Thomas Sprigg Wootton. He founded the county by introducing a bill that split Frederick County into three— Frederick, Montgomery, and Washington counties in 1776.
Last year 17 teams, including teams from Montgomery, Frederick, and Howard counties, competed in the first ever Xpro Upper County Classic 7on7 Tournament at Watkins Mill High School.
Watkins Mill head coach, Mike Brown, would like to take this year’s tournament to the next level by adding teams from Northern Virginia, Prince George’s County, and Baltimore.
The cost is $250 for one team or $200 per team if more than one team signs up from one school (A and B team).
Springbrook High School won last year’s tournament...who’s taking home the first place trophy this year???
Dr. Christine Handy, principal at Gaithersburg High School, has informed parents that she will be stepping down at the end of this school year.
According to the ConnectEd message (available below), she will continue to serve as the President of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Cava opened their 46th fast casual restaurant on Rockville Pike today. Their newest location is located next to Honeygrow on Rockville Pike in the new development that used to be home to Timpano Italian Chophouse.
Original founders Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis, and Ted Xenohristos are all MoCo natives. They attended Gaithersburg, Quince Orchard, and Paint Branch High Schools.
The fast casual spin-off of the locally popular Cava Mezze restaurants is growing at an astronomical rate. If anyone is wondering when #47 is opening, it’s tomorrow in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Malcolm Miller’s path to the NBA was not lined with big-time private school programs or huge D1 offers.
He is a MoCo kid that played his high school ball in the public school system at Gaithersburg High School. Miller was the team captain his junior and senior year at Gaithersburg. Though he filled out the stat sheet, his numbers weren’t spectacular. As a senior, he averaged 13.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.8assists, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 steals per game, while earning first team All-Gazette honors.
The bigger D1 offers weren’t there, but Miller took an offer from Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
He played in 21 games as a freshman, starting three times and averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. His numbers nearly doubled as a sophomore when he started 26 of 27 games. In his junior year he earned third team All-Patriot League honors, averaging 11 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. As a senior he averaged 14.5 points per game and finishing second in the Patriot League in blocks (1.6 per game) and fourth in free throw percentage (83%).
Miller wasn’t drafted after his senior year, but he went on to sign with the Boston Celtics and participated on their Summer League team in 2015. He officially signed with the Celtics that September and even appeared in a pre-season game before he was waved prior to the start of the season. He went on to play for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Developmental League during that season.
After his stint in the NBDL, where he averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, Miller signed with Alba Berlin of the Bundesliga in Germany. In ten games in Germany, Miller only averaged 6.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game.
This season, the 24 year old Miller was the first player to sign a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors. A two-way contract means the athlete’s salary is dependent upon the league in which the athlete is assigned to play (the NBA or the G-League, formerly known as the NBDL, in Miller’s case).
Malcolm Miller has seen action in 3 games for the Toronto Raptors this year. He’s averaging 2 points per game for Raptors, who currently hold the best record in the Eastern Conference. If history has proven anything, it’s that Miller will continue to work until he gets to where he wants to be.
Gaithersburg football head coach, Kreg Kephart, coached Philadelphia Eagles’ tight end, Billy Brown, when he played football at Gaithersburg High School.
Brown, who stands at 6’4, 255, simulated the 6’6, 265 pound Gronkowski in practices for the Eagles the week leading to the Super Bowl, according to Kephart.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced they re-signed the Gaithersburg High School and Shepherd University product on a Friday, after he spent all of last season on their practice squad.
With veteran backup tight end, Brent Celek, scheduled to make $5 million next year, Brown could have an opportunity to step into a role on the active roster for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
There are two that’ll be playing in the SuperBowl for the Philadelphia Eagles with strong MoCo ties (one more is on the Eagles’ practice squad).
Ronald Darby attended Potomac High Shool in Oxon Hill (P.G. County), but longtime MoCo sports reporter, Brandy Louis Simms (@BLS1969), revealed that Darby’s mother attended Seneca Valley High School in Germantown.
Mack Hollins is a Wootton High School graduate. He caught 16 passes for 226 yards this season. His lone touchdown came earlier this year against the Washington Redskins.
Billy Brown is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. The rookie tight end hasn’t been signed to the active roster this season, but the Eagles coaches remain high on the Gaithersburg Trojan graduate.
The image above shows part of Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village as they looked in 1964 (year of photo has been confirmed.) The labels show what the roads are currently named.
They removed most of the cloverleaf to make the park-n-ride lot and to have southbound entry off Clopper Road.
Lakeforest Mall went in above 355 in this photo. Gaithersburg High School is to the right of the area this photo encompasses. The bottom right of this photo is where Motel 6 is currently located.
Rapper Logic, who grew up in the West Deer Park neighborhood of Gaithersburg, expressed a message at the Grammys that has garnered him hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets on Twitter.
Late last night, after his performance, he tweeted an image of the written message he performed.
The video is available here:
Let me start by saying that there are a lot more than 12 athletes with MoCo ties and this isn’t a list of all of them. You have probably heard of most of the people on this list, but did you know about their ties to MoCo?
Shawn Springs (Springbrook High School)
Shawn Springs was an All-American at Ohio State and enjoyed a 13 year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, and New England Patriots. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1998 and was an All-Pro in 2004. Prior to his NFL success, Springs was an All-State selection as a running back (like his father, Ron Springs) and cornerback at Springbrook High School.
Domonique Dawes (Gaithersburg/Blair)
Domonique Dawes is the first black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. She competed in three Olympics (‘92, ‘96, ‘00) and was the first female gymnast to be a part of three Olympic medal winning teams since the early 70s. She was born in Silver Spring and started high school at Blair before transferring to Gaithersburg and even being named their prom queen in 1994.
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Helen Maroulis (Magruder High School)
The Rockville native attended Magruder High School for three years before moving to Michigan for her senior year. Maroulis beat Saori Yoshida in Rio for her first Olympic gold medal. Yoshida had three Olympic gold medals and just two losses on her resumè prior to wrestling Maroulis. Helen Maroulis is credited with earning the first Olympic gold medal for the United States in a women’s wrestling event.
Oguchi Onyewu (Sherwood)
There aren’t many American soccer players that can say they’ve found success in several of the top European leagues—Onyewu is one of the few. He has appeared in 69 international games for the United States. While he was a student at Sherwood High School, he enrolled in the U.S. residency program for soccer in Bradenton, Florida before returning to Sherwood to graduate.
Dhani Jones (Churchill High School)
You may know Dhani Jones as one of the stars of the Shark Tank replica, Adventure Capitalists (CNBC), but he was a three Time All-Big Ten player and National Champion at the University of Michigan. He then played in the NFL for 11 years, starting in 131 games. During his time at Churchill, he was an All-Met and All-County pick.
Kyle Snyder (Good Counsel)
Kyle Snyder is the youngest Olympic gold medalist in wrestling history and a two time NCAA champion. Many consider him the pound for pound “best wrestler in the world.” In his three years wrestling at Good Counsel (he didn’t wrestle his senior year, choosing to compete internationally instead), he amassed a 179-0 record.
Freddy Adu (The Heights)
The now 28 year old Adu started playing professionally 14 years ago. He signed his professional contract with D.C. United at the age of 14 and scored his first professional goal just 3 months later. Once referred to as the “next Pelé,” he never really lived up to expectations. Adu moved from Ghana to Rockville when he was 8, where he attended Sequoyah Elementary School (Derwood). He then attended The Heights School before leaving to join D.C. United.
Zack Kerr (Quince Orchard)
The QO alum was able to earn a spot on the defensive line as an undrafted free agent for the Indianapolis Colts. He played there for three season, recording 5.5 sacks in the process. Prior to this season, Kerr signed a two year deal with the Broncos. He won a State Championship in 2007 during his time at Quince Orchard High School.
Katie Ledecky (Stone Ridge)
Katie Ledecky won a gold medal as a 15 year old at the London Olympics in 2012. She won four more Olympic gold medals in Rio just last year. She has been named American Swimmer of The Year in each of the last three years. She finished her high school career as the holder of every Stone Ridge swimming record except for the 100-meter backstroke.
Folarin Campbell (Springbrook)
He was an integral part of the 2006 George Mason team that made the Final Four, leading the team with 3.4 assists per game and scoring 11 points per contest. Following his time at George Mason, Campbell started a career overseas that is still going today. He led MoCo in scoring his junior year at Springbrook, averaging 26.3 points per game.
Stefon Diggs (Good Counsel)
Stefon Diggs has dominated at every level. He and teammate Adam Thielen are considered one of the best receiver duos currently in the NFL. In less than three full seasons in the league, he has over 2,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Diggs scored 34 touchdowns combined in his junior and senior years at Good Counsel. He chose the University of Maryland over Auburn, Cal, Florida, Ohio State, and USC.
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown Prep)
The 7’2” Hibbert is a two time NBA All-Star. He was a big part of bringing the Georgetown Hoyas back to the Final Four in 2007 and was drafted 17th in the 2008 NBA Draft. In 10 seasons, he has career averages of 10 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game. He planned to attend and play for Georgetown University when he played for Georgetown Prep.
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