The birth of Francis C. Hammond High School

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We have no established traditions; we have only the fine example of the young naval hero for whom our school was named on which to build our traditions.
With the principals deliverance of this message to an eager student body, Francis C. Hammond High School began its first day.    

At that time, September 1956, Hammond was merely a $2 million modern structure which had been built on Seminary Road in Alex-andria, just a jump from the Shirley Highway.

Boasting an opening enr-ollment of approximately 1,200 students from eighth graders to juniors Alex-andrias newest secondary school started seeking clubs and other activities.

A student council study group was formed; it spent many months carefully draf-ting a constitution which would serve as a strong foundation for student government.  Upon the completion of this task, officers of the Student Co-operative Association were elected.

Before the close of the second semester Hammond had a 33-member chapter of the National Honor Society.  More recently the Quill and Scroll, international honorary society for high school journalists, granted a charter to Hammond.

A student activities committee was instituted to review requests for clubs.  Clubs were established on the basis of interest, need and desirability.

At present, examples of organizations at Hammond are Camera Club, Varsity Club (for boys awarded varsity athletic letters), the Music and the Art Club.

Each Hammondite is pr-oud of the fact that our school received accreditation from the Southern Assoc-iation of Secondary Schools and Colleges before the end of its first semester.  This pride is justified because it is unusual for a secondary sch-ool to be accredited before its second year of operation.

Hammonds students are also fortunate to have access to a 6,400 volume library.  This library, which by the end of its first year boasted 6,000 new books, now subscribes to 74 magazines and five newspapers.

This 53-room school, covering 25 acres, was dedicated to Francis Colton Hammond, Navy Medical Corpsman who was posthumously aw-arded the Congressional Me-dal of Honor for his gallant service in Korea.  Mr. Ham-mond was the only Aleandrian to receive this honor.

In conjunction with this history, each Hammond class ring has a replica of the Medal of Honor on one side of a blue stone.  In keeping with Navy traditions the school colors are Navy blue and white.

The students also voted a naval nickname for the football team the Admirals.  Several names were submitted to all the Hammondites as possible titles for the school annual and newspaper; again they selected those pertaining to the Navy Anchor for the annual and Salvo for the newspaper.

Most recent of all, a school crest was designed to be used on the commencement announcements for the first graduating class this month.  Under this impressive blue and gold crest, which is quite similar to the Congressional Medal of Honor, the name of the school is engraved in very small type.

Mention the Hammond Admirals and football fans will tell you that, although this past season was their first year in Group I competition, they tied with Arling-tons Wakefield High School for first place in the Northern Virginia League standings.  The teams final record was seven wins, one loss and one tie.

And the Hammond Band, handsomely attired in new Navy blue uniforms and white bucks, kept morale high during the games.  Navy influence was present again in the majorettes sailor caps and blue uniforms with white satin middy collars.

Outstanding for its uni-queness at Hammond is modern dance, which became a part of the physical education curriculum this sem-ester. Modern dance is tau-ght about six weeks each semester in all girls physical education classes. Several basic dance movements are taught; then, each girl may try to improvise, using arm, leg and body movements to express her ideas emotions.

A modern dance recital was given last month as a part of the annual Winter Sports Carnival.  Some of the interpretations were humorous, some serious, and others gay; but the emphasis was placed on originality and then on skill and ability.

Also spotlighted in the Winter Sports Carnival, were trampoline, tumbling and balancing acts.  The acrobatic skill required to perform such tumbling feats was practiced in most Hammond physical education classes.  A tumbling club has been organized for students who are interested and have aptitude for this phase of physical education.

Linda Johnson was in the first graduating class in January, 1958. This story was originally published in Hammond’s school  newspaper on Jan. 19, 1958.  

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