To the editor:
Thousands of proud T.C. Williams High School graduates will soon become “orphans” if the school board foolishly follows the “cancel culture” tantrum of Alexandria’s admirers of the Taliban.
School Board members need to explore the unfavorable consequences and psychological damage of a renaming. This will permanently erase the historic accomplishments, extraordinary achievement and preeminent reputation of an Alexandria institution – the T.C. Williams High School.
Replacing “Remember the Titans” will be “Whatever Happened to the Titans?”
Remember the overachieving students and championship teams from Washington’s acclaimed and later renamed Central High School? Me neither.
The glories of the mighty Titans will fade into ignominy with Central High School, George Washington and Parker-Gray along with the removal of the hundreds of trophies, awards and memorabilia in the bulging trophy cases.
First, the T.C. Williams name has been widely associated in the area, state and nation for more than 50 years, as the prestigious high school whose students, groups and teams have achieved remarkable competitiveness in a wide range of important academic endeavors.
Secondly, the name is deeply respected by admissions officers throughout the country. This benefitted students’ admission to the University of Virginia and other highly competitive schools. More importantly, many marginally qualified students benefitted by recognition of the rigorous curriculums which these students have experienced and successfully completed.
Thirdly, the school received national attention in the acclaimed Hollywood movie, “Remember the Titans,” which highlights the successful racial integration of the school. It’s an unforgettable, popular movie that continues to be regularly broadcast today.
Consequently, the alumni are nationally recognized, respected for their compassion for racial justice and have the T.C. Williams name affixed to numerous awards, achievements and lists of distinction.
Contrarily, T.C. Williams the man, hired in the 1930’s, is mostly remembered in “Jurassic Park” and is truthfully, unknown in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. In fact, many Virginians and many lawyers erroneously believe the school is named for the distinguished T.C. Williams for whom the law school at the University of Richmond is named.
Accordingly, it would be extremely foolish to expunge the esteemed national reputation and extraordinary accomplishments attributed to “T.C. Williams High School” students, their science and debate teams, artists and entertainers, athletes and athletic teams and illustrious alumni earned over more than 50 recent years to erase the name of a largely forgotten educator.
Our school board needs to manifest the maturity, wisdom and courage for which it was elected and explain all of the unfavorable results of a renaming to the well-meaning activists. Essentially by easing a contrived tantrum of a very small group which is literally resolving itself, a renaming creates a multitude of long-term tragic consequences for thousands of alumni through the erasure of the nationally esteemed and respected “T.C. Williams” High School name.
Remember their compassion for racial justice and “Remember the Titans!”
-Gerald B. File, Alexandria