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Coming soon to Minneapolis: Prince High School?

There is a 100% chance that Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis will be renamed. There is a very good chance that the new school name will be Prince High School.

Patrick Henry High School
Patrick Henry High School
Patrick Henry High School Facebook page

The long road to changing the name of Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis is almost at an end. Back in 2018, the alumni of Henry led quite a battle to stop any school name change. That conflict was resolved when the Minneapolis Public Schools Board unanimously decided in August 2022 to rename the school.

During the past nine months, the student-led name change committee at Henry, #WhatsMyName, has sponsored several outreach forums, discussions and community votes to narrow down the new name of the school. To its credit, this committee has made significant accommodations to include as many community members, alumni and students as possible in the renaming process. The variety and diversity of possible new names generated has been quite amazing.

For example, in the first vote participants were given a rank choice vote of three names of more than 40 possible choices. These possible names ranged widely and included Freedom High School; Clyde Bellecourt High School; General Vang Pao High School; Cozelle Breedlove High School, Never Give Up on Yourself High School and Rosa Parks High School.

According to the #WhatsMyName website, the rank vote has been tabulated and the possible list of new school names has been narrowed to just five. One of those choices is Prince High School.

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The five remaining school name choices are Camden High School or Camden Community High School, H.E.N.R.Y. High School – an acronym for Highly Educated Noteworthy Resilient Youth, Minneapolis Northwest High School or Northwest High School, Prince High School or Prince Rogers Nelson High School and Victory High School.

The final round of voting on these five possible school names is now open online at the #WhatsMyName website.

I have recently interacted both in-person and online with several alumni, community members and current students of Patrick Henry High School. I discovered that many alumni are still upset with the name change but, when pushed, tend to support renaming the school Camden or Camden Community High School or H.E.N.R.Y. High School. Community members tend to support the names of Camden High School, Northwest High School or Victory High School.

The current students, however, over-whelming support renaming the school Prince High School or Prince Rogers Nelson High School. Unlike both the alumni and community members I spoke with, the level of excitement among the students for renaming the school was quite high. Also, unlike the former two groups, the students are very much behind one new name: Prince High School.

The students share the love of Prince with the Minnesota State Legislature and our governor. On May 9 Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law – using purple ink –renaming Highway 5 from Eden Prairie to Chanhassen to Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway. The legislation requires the highway signs to be in purple.

The choice of mascot for a possible Prince High School will most likely be the “Love Symbol.” On June 7, 1993, Prince’s 35th birthday, he announced that he had changed his name to this symbol. Soon, people started calling him the artist formerly known as Prince and eventually, just “The Artist.”

Dave Berger
Dave Berger
If the people vote to rename the school for Prince Rogers Nelson, there will be some questions that will have to be answered regarding copyright and branding. Will the estate of Prince allow the school to use his symbol and name? One school color might be purple but what of the other colors?

There is a 100% chance that Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis will be renamed. There is a very good chance that the new school name will be Prince High School. I suppose many will refer to it as the school formerly known as Henry or just “The School.”

Dave Berger of Maple Grove, Minnesota, is a retired sociology professor, a 1981 graduate of Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, and a freelance writer and author.