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???
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.
Montgomery County has been home to many celebrities throughout the years, but I wanted to highlight the most famous person to come from each one of our current, local public high schools. This isn't about being successful in business or helping out communities...just simply about fame in terms of pop-culture today.
The list is definitely subjective, so I know everyone will not agree with a few of these people being the most famous. It's also not a list of every famous person to come from each high school (or MoCo), so there will likely be some very well-known celebrities missing from this list.
With all of that in mind, here we go!
It was tough coming to my final decision, but Daniel Stern is the one celebrity from B-CC I think is most recognizable. He starred as Marv in the first two Home Alone movies and was even the narrator of the hit television series The Wonder Years. Though he ended up dropping out before graduating, Mr. Stern has made a pretty solid career for himself out in Hollywood.
Photo courtesy of www.instyle.com
Can you believe Goldie Hawn will be turning 72 this November? Blair is another school that made it difficult to choose just one, but the Academy Award winning actress takes the cake. She made her return to the big screen earlier this year, starring in the comedy Snatched with Amy Schumer.
Note: Sylvester Stallone would get this spot, but based on what I have been told he only had a cup of coffee with Blair High School.
Photo courtesy of www.danpatrick.com
Robert Klemko is a writer for Sports Illustrated's The MMQB. He has previously worked for USA Today and is often featured on many sports television and radio programs for his expertise on the NFL.
Photo courtesy of www.hollywood.com
Have you ever heard of Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, or Sex and the City? Darren Star created all three of them. Star has also worked on multiple other television series and movies.
Doug is a Whitman High School graduate that was born and raised in MoCo. His portable bars can be seen at tailgates throughout the DMV!
Photo courtesy of www.hudl.com
Ace Clark was a defensive back for the Western Carolina Catamounts after his time at Clarksburg. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. Currently he’s a coach at KOA, a local youth sports group based out of Bethesda.
2003 Damascus grad, Brian Stelter, is the host of Reliable Sources on CNN and is also the senior media correspondent. He has also worked for the New York Times.
Fun Fact: Stetler used to date CNBC anchor, Nicole Lapin.
Photo courtesy of www.youtube.com
Rebecca Sugar is best known as the creator of Steven Universe, a series on the Cartoon network. She simultaneously attended Blair High School and the Visual Arts Program at Einstein. Her work as a writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time earned her a Primetime Emmy.
Photo courtesy of www.hollywoodlife.com
Popular rapper, Logic, released his first studio album in 2014, but it wasn't until earlier this year that he gained international fame with his hit single, "1-800-273-8255." The single was recently certified double platinum. Though he dropped out of school before graduating from Gaithersburg High School, Logic's ties to the area are still strong with a lot of his family still living in MoCo.
Sean Tucker is a Middle School teacher in North Bethesda (MoCo). He creates these signs in his free time and usually has them ready within 2 weeks of ordering!
Photo courtesy of www.hollywood.com
John Michael Higgins currently stars in the NBC series, Great News. In the past he's starred in movies like Pitch Perfect (1 and 2), Bad Teacher, Evan Almighty, and more. He's also appeared in the T.V. shows, Miami Vice, Seinfeld, Glee, Community, and many others. Before that he spent much of the late 70s and early 80s at WJ.
Photo courtesy of www.alchetron.com
Curtis Pride is currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University, but before that he played for the Expos starting in 1993. Pride was the first deaf baseball player to play in the majors since Dick Sipek played in 1945. He and his wife Lisa are actively involved in the Together With Pride foundation, which aids hard-of-hearing children through a hearing aid bank.
Photo courtesy of www.zimbio.com
Dan Hellie is currently the co-anchor of NFL Total Access on the NFL network. Prior to that he was the sports anchor on NBC4, here in Washington D.C. He was a three sport athlete when he attended Magruder (basketball, baseball, and football), and even gave the commencement speech at Magruder in 2008. In 2012, he was inducted into the Magruder Athletic Hall of Fame.
Photo courtesy of www.thedailybeast.com
Tori Amos has 10 singles that have charted in the United States. She has been nominated for five VMA's and eight Grammy's. Though you wouldn't guess it from the picture, she graduated from Richard Montgomery in the early 80s.
Photo courtesy of http://yandere-simulator-fanon.wikia.com
Mia Khalifa, “The D.C. Sports Girl,” has nearly 2 million followers on Twitter. She is the co-host of Complex magazine's YouTube show "Out of Bounds" along with former Washington Wizard Gilbert Arenas. Her YouTube channel curating D.C. sports, modeling shoots, and guest appearances allow her to earn a 7-figure salary.
Photo courtesy of www.hollywoodreporter.com
Jonathan Banks is best known for his role as Mike Ehrmantraut in the television series Breaking Bad and spin-off series Better Call Saul. He has also been in 48 Hrs., Airplane!, Beverly Hills Cop, and many more movies. He graduated from Northwood in 1966.
Photo courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com
3-time NFL Pro-Bowler, Darnell Dockett, was a standout since his time at Paint Branch. After overcoming some very difficult times as a youngster, Dockett was able to star at Florida State before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2004. Darnell Dockett donated brand new jerseys to his old high school a few years back.
Photo courtesy of www.cflapedia.com
Irvin Smith graduated from Poolesville in the mid-80s. He then played for the University of Maryland from '85-'88 before joining the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent. Smith also attended camp with the Vikings and Redskins in his NFL career. He spent a few seasons playing in the CFL and even played in the World League for a year. Today he is a firefighter for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue service.
Photo courtesy of www.billboard.com
Rapper, Wale, was born and raised in Washington D.C. before moving to Montgomery County, MD. He attended Quince Orchard High School and The Mark Twain School, and graduated from Q.O. in 2002. He remains tied to the area with his appearances at many local sporting events (Redskins, Wizards, etc.).
Photo courtesy of redsar.net
Andy Fiscella has had roles in xXx: State of the Union, Quarantine, Final Destination, Nightmare on Elm Street and many more popular movies. He has also been on Sex and the City, Law & Order, CSI: New York, etc. He attended Rockville High School in the early 80s.
Photo courtesy of www.hootie.com
Seneca Valley has the distinction of having two different people on this list, but only because they come from the same band. Mark Bryan (lead guitar) and Dean Felber (bass) are both founding members of Hootie and the Blowfish. Their debut album, Cracked Rear View, has been certified platinum 16 times and the band has sold over 21 million albums collectively in the United States alone.
Photo courtesy of www.ftw.usatoday.com
Scott Van Pelt has been the host of several sports shows and is now the solo anchor of the midnight edition of Sportscenter. He graduated from Sherwood High School in the mid 80s and attended the University of Maryland, where he studied radio/television and film. Just like me, Van Pelt is a fan of the Washington Redskins, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, and Baltimore Orioles.
Photo courtesy of www.fandango.com
Michael Ealy currently tops the list for Springbrook, another school with many celebrities to choose from. He grew up in Silver Spring. Ealy is currently starring in Being Mary Jane, opposite Gabrielle Union, but has also starred in movies like Barbershop, Think Like a Man, The Perfect Man, Last Vegas, and 2 Fast 2 Furious.
Photo courtesy of ebrianschneider.com
Paul Rabil is a major league lacrosse player that many call the face of the sport. Though Rabil only went to Watkins Mill for a year before transferring to DeMatha, he was able to make the Varsity team and find a lot of success playing Lacrosse. He credits his success at Watkins Mill for helping him fall in love with the game. It was really close between Rabil and that handsome www.mocosnow.com guy!
Photo courtesy of www.wikipedia.com
Joan Jett, the woman many refer to as the Queen of Rock & Roll, attended Wheaton High School. The “I Love Rock & Roll” singer is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists.
Photo courtesy of www.zimbio.com
Whitman High School is certainly up there when it comes to success stories coming out of MoCo, but when it comes to pop culture, Giuliana Rancic tips the list. She has co-anchored E! News with Ryan Seacrest, she co-hosts Fashion Police, and she has even hosted the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants on NBC! In 2014, Rancic won a daytime Emmy for Fan Favorite.
Photo courtesy of ethniceleb.com
It was close between Thomas Jane and O.A.R., but i'm going with Jane. Thomas Jane has appeared in movies such as Boogie Nights and Deep Blue Sea. He also starred as The Punisher in the 2004 flim. More recently, he was the lead in the HBO series, Hung. He is also starring in the SyFy series, The Expanse. In 2018 he will appear in The Predator reboot.
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News Around MoCo, 5/8/17 Edition
Staples on Georgia Avenue has closed permanently (Silver Spring).
After 41 years, Seneca Valley held the last sporting event at the stadium last Thursday (Germantown).
The five most challenging schools in Maryland are located in Montgomery County, according to the Washington Post's list of most challenging schools in the nation. Full list available here:(www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/local/high-school-challenge-2017/
Brio Tuscan Grille, located on the corner of Rockville Pike and Executive Blvd. (North Bethesda) has closed permanently.
The brand new Spring/Summer 2017 menu has rolled out at Cava Mezze locations (Olney/Rockville).
Peruvian Chicken and Grill will be opening soon in Damascus.
The creators of Serial (including host Sarah Koenig) will be at Strathmore on May 11th (North Bethesda).
Le Madeleine in Silver Spring has closed permanently.
The principal of Kensington Parkwood Elementary School that set up a "smash space" for teacher will step down following this school year (Kensington).
Class 520 (Thai ice cream) has opened a second MoCo location in Bethesda.
Takoma Beverage Co. (coffee, beer, cocktails, and wine) will open in Takoma Park this month or next.
MoCo liquor stores used to card people that "looked under 35." Starting July 1st, everyone will be carded.
Pie 360, Coal Fire's quick pizza experiment, has closed after just 5 months off of Twinbrook Parkway (Rockville).
The MoCo Council voted unanimously to pass a bill that would fine owners of abandoned homes to avoid eyesores that attract crime and reduce property value (per WTOP).
MoCo Police will be visiting MCPS schools to enforce cell phone and seat belt laws in and around the schools (parking lots, drop-off/pick-up loops, etc.).
This edition of "News Around MoCo" was brought to you by Empowering You. Providing counseling for adults and teens needing support with anxiety, depression, or disordered eating.