New school gets familiar name: Cain Elementary


By Bobby Bryant, Editor,

The discussion took about a year. The decision took about a minute and a half.

With no debate, the Darlington County school board last week made it official: Darlington’s new school, opening in fall 2020, will be called J.L. Cain Elementary School, and its mascot will be a tiger.

The Nov. 11 vote ended roughly a year-long, painstaking process of forming a committee, gathering suggested names for the new school, getting input from school district employees, students and the public, and distributing ballots asking people to pick a favorite name.

Results were given to the board Oct. 14, and Cain was the overwhelming favorite.

Cain got 454 votes out of 958 valid ballots given to district officials. Location might have been a big factor in the public’s vote: The new $20 million school is being built next to the current Cain Elementary, named for black educator James Lawrence Cain.

Cain’s current students will attend the new school, as will students at Brunson-Dargan Elementary. Brunson-Dargan was one of the options the public was given for the new school’s name, but it only got 49 votes in the public balloting.

The new elementary schools being built in Hartsville and Lamar will follow a similar “pick the name” process, but school district spokeswoman Audrey Childers said it should go much faster with those schools now that the district has completed naming the Darlington school, which served as a kind of trial run for the others.

A plaque at the current Cain Elementary School says that the school was built in 1953 and was named for J.L. Cain (1870-1944), whom the plaque describes as a pioneering black educator and principal of Mayo School for 43 years.

The plaque says the school was named after Cain “in recognition of his foresight, high idealism, unselfish devotion and leadership.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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