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West Apex High will be Apex Friendship High

The Associated Press

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CARY, N.C. (AP) — The Wake County school board has voted to rename a new high school in Apex after an area with ties to the African-American community.

The school board voted 5-3 Tuesday to drop the planned name, West Apex High School, in favor of Apex Friendship High School, The News & Observer of Raleigh (http://bit.ly/1bbRbYH) reported.

Local history books say the Friendship community where the school will be located was known in the 1850s as a peaceful place for whites, blacks and Native Americans to live.

Opponents of the name said the word 'Friendship' was more appropriate for a pre-school or a religious school.

Jenny Ross, an Apex parent, read comments from high school students who signed a petition saying that using 'Friendship' in the name would be "too juvenile" and that other schools wouldn't respect them.

"High school is full of young students moving on to college, not preschoolers," Ross said as she read one student's comment. "Imagine being at a football game and they announce, 'Here comes Apex Friendship.'?"

But Friendship resident Louis Powell said the community is dying and deserves to be recognized.

"It is imperative, crucial that you name this school 'Friendship,'" he said. "This proves it. Not to just the minority community but to the entire community."

Other speakers suggested using the name 'Friendship' for a new elementary school or middle school to be built near the high school. Other suggestions included naming a wing or dining hall at the high school after Friendship or noting on the school's sign that it's located in the Friendship community.

The previous school board had selected the name West Apex. The school is expected to open in 2015.

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Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com

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