Parkway Elementary named for Cesar Chavez
Apr. 6, 2000
Jeremy Breningstall
Staff Writer

When students of Parkway Elementary School in Chillum return to school next fall, they'll have a new namesake: Cesar Chavez.

At the behest of students and faculty at Parkway, the Prince George's County Board of Education voted March 30 in favor of renaming the school.

"We are delighted to represent the name of such a great man," said Adela Acosta, Parkway principal.

The initiative to rename the school had been ongoing since the school opened last fall, said school board member Doyle Niemann (Dist. 3) of Mount Rainier.

A straw vote was taken by the PTA, and a public hearing was held Jan. 10. Cesar Chavez was the overwhelming choice, Niemann said.

"We wanted to name it Cesar Chavez because we wanted a real name for Parkway," said sixth-grader Marvin Fernandez. "And he's a hero."

Chavez (1927-1993) spent his early youth in the migrant labor camps of California and returned to them as an adult to educate laborers about their rights and help them unionize. Chavez eventually helped to found the United Farmworkers Union.

"I think [Cesar Chavez] is a good name for our school. Parkway's just like some liquor store and drug store," said sixth-grader Erika Hernandez.

According to the resolution adopted by the Board of Education, "Cesar Estrada Chavez devoted his life to the empowerment and enfranchisement of people of all races and backgrounds, working tirelessly on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, helping them organize themselves to improve their life, work and community."

Acosta said Parkway's significant Latino population made renaming the school Cesar Chavez particularly important.

"He's someone [Latino students] can recognize from their culture who contributed something to society," Acosta said. "He worked with Martin Luther King to bring equality to disenfranchised peoples, not just Latinos, but also African-Americans and whites."

A dedication ceremony will be scheduled at a later date.