Matthew A. Henson Middle School was named in honor of Matthew Alexander Henson, who was co-discoverer of the North Pole and the first person in recorded history to set foot on the North Pole. He was born in Nanjemoy, Charles County Maryland, on August 8, 1866.
Henson served on expeditions with Admiral Robert E. Peary as his personal attendant and dogsled driver. Henson was the only American who accompanied Peary when the explorers reached the North Pole in 1909. Before his death in 1955 in New York City, Henson wrote A NEGRO EXPLORER AT THE NORTH POLE and lectured widely around the country.
On April 8, 1962, the State of Maryland, in Henson's honor placed a plaque and monument on the ground of Pomonkey Junior-Senior High School, now Matthew A. Henson Middle School. It was not until 1969, however, that the school’s name was changed to Matthew Henson Middle School. This event occurred simultaneously with the conversion of the school from high school to middle school. Before the changeover, the building served as an integrated junior-senior high school from 1966 to 1968 and from 1958 to 1966 was one of the two junior-senior high schools serving the black population of Charles County.
Our mission at Matthew Henson Middle School is to encourage academic excellence for all students by providing a safe, supportive, and orderly school environment.
Our vision is to prepare each student to learn, grow and thrive in today’s global society as we provide various opportunities for academic and personal success.
1958: The present building was constructed
1962: An addition to the building was completed
1982: An extensive renovation of the facility was completed in January of 1962, featuring a modern educational facility designed to serve 775 students. Renovations included:
- Media Learning Center, which holds up to 150 students
- School library and media center
- Air conditioning in all areas except the gym
- Carpeting in 80% of the building
- Closed circuit TV system
- Computer lab
- Two-way communications system
- Internet and wide area network access
2002 - 2003 (Summers): Eight portable classrooms were installed on the south side of the main building
2002 - 2003 (Winter and Spring): Back parking lot and perimeter sidewalks were renovated
2004: The Kate Donahue Memorial Garden was dedicated and new landscaping for the front of the school walkway was added
2006: Wireless network system was installed
2007: All carpeting and tiling was replaced, lockers were painted, student restrooms renovated, and hallway and cafeteria lighting received an upgrade. Over the course of several years, the Environmental Club, with funding from the PTO and Chaney Enterprises has planted native flowering trees along the driveway and built a butterfly garden behind the school.
2014: The gymnasium flooring was replaced as well as the addition of an AC system for the gymnasium
2015: New laptop carts make Matthew Henson a tech-savy, versitle school
2017: The media center acquired a classroom set of Apple iPads
2018: The building gets a few updates to include:
- New walkways and ramps to the portable classrooms
- The school was connected to public water instead of well water
- New Fire Alarm System was installed