Maybe it was the Southside Academy sign on the door and the leaflets plugging the name floating through the halls. Or, maybe it was the cheerleaders, who did a Southside routine for each group of voters who entered the auditorium, where voting took place.
Whatever it was, it helped Southside Academy edge Cherry Hill Senior High School by a vote of 269-224 yesterday as the proposed name for South Baltimore's School 181.
More than 550 people poured into the school yesterday to vote for the high school's name. The school's first-year students prevailed and will be sending their top choice -- Southside Academy -- to the school board for approval.
"It sounds like a real learning name," said cheerleader Erica Cornish, 12, "and we live on the Southside."
Cornish is a seventh-grader at Arnett J. Brown Jr. Middle School, which shares the three-story building on Seamon Avenue with the high school. The school, which opened this fall with 68 freshmen, will become a citywide magnet school next year.
Voting took place yesterday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for students, parents and other Cherry Hill residents. The other four choices, which were nominations from community groups, politicians and local schools, won between five and 21 votes. They were: Middle Branch Senior High School, Cherry Hill Academy of Environmental Sciences, Dr. Jerry C. Luck High School and Cherry Hill Community High School and Career Development Academy.
Principal Peggy Jackson-Jobe said it was important to let Cherry Hill residents choose a name because it's the first high school in the community. Most local high school students had attended Southern.
"We kept telling them that they were making history," Jackson-Jobe said. "Plus, this gives them a sense of ownership."
Mirroring the procedure of Tuesday's general election, voters had to register yesterday with a table of ninth-graders serving as poll workers before going behind a maroon curtain to cast their vote. For some of the younger students, the electronic voting machine was the thrill.
"When the lights came on, it was looking fun," said fifth-grader Shamika Montaque, 11, who voted for Cherry Hill Senior High School because it sounded better.
Bernadette Armwood, 43, whose nephew attends the middle school, said she preferred Cherry Hill Senior High School because it would have reflected the strength of neighborhoods.
"I'm a traditionalist, and I think Cherry Hill just says it all," she said.
Pub Date: 11/05/98