Board Approves Historic “Sylvia Mendez Newcomers School” Name

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For Immediate Release: May 31, 2022

Contact: Nora Shoptaw (336) 370-8386

Board Approves Historic “Sylvia Mendez Newcomers School” Name
The school will be the first in North Carolina named after a Latino person

Greensboro, N.C. – The future High Point newcomer’s school will be the first in North Carolina named after a Latino person.
The Guilford County School Board of Education approved the name Sylvia Mendez Newcomers School<simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=11102&AID=325216&MID=12702> during its work session Tuesday. The vote came after a 30-minute public hearing at the session, and 30-day public comment period. The board received overwhelming support for the name, which honors civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez.
Born in Santa Ana, Calif., Mendez’s parents moved the family to nearby Westminster. When her parents tried to register her and her siblings at a nearby public school, they were denied enrollment and told the children would have to enroll at a school specifically for Mexican-Americans.
This prompted her parents to file a federal lawsuit, Mendez v. Westminster, which was the precursor to Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision establishing that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

“Her story is a story that Newcomer families can relate to,” wrote Grace K. Migui in a letter of support to the board. “Our students can relate to the challenges of attending school and feeling different because of where they or their parents originated. As someone who migrated to the United States as a young adult, and as the slated School Social Worker for the High Point Newcomers School, I understand the importance of having a sense of belonging. I believe that Sylvia Mendez will be a very fitting name for our school.”

The Sylvia Mendez Newcomers School in High Point is planned as a counterpart to the Doris Henderson Newcomer’s School<www.gcsnc.com/Newcomers_School> in Greensboro.

About Guilford County Schools
Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina and the 50th largest of more than 14,000 in the United States, serves nearly 70,000 PK-12 students at 126 schools. With approximately 9,800 employees, GCS works in partnership with parents, businesses, colleges and the community to deliver an education that connects student interests and skills with the careers and economy of our future here and around the world. We provide educational choices to meet individual student needs in a culturally diverse citizenship and new opportunities to help our students Soar to Greatness. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.gcsnc.com.

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