To the editor:
In November, the Alexandria City School Board voted to change the name of T.C. Williams High School. After a series of polls among students, staff and the public, Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, Ed.D made the recommendation to the School Board to rename it Alexandria High School. The Board will vote on April 8 and the new name will be official on July 1.
Cost estimates by ACPS to implement the name change at T.C. Williams total about $325,000. Given the cost, choosing to name the school after the community and returning to the name of the city’s historic high school, until 1935, and not to name it for a person is a wise choice.
There are many individuals who may appear virtuous, but without a deep investigation into their background it’s just laying the grounds for another costly future name change if later they are unmasked as a bad actor who has put pain into the world.
We are advocating for the School Board to make a small change to the Superintendent’s recommendation by adding “The City of” to “Alexandria High School” resulting in the official name being “The City of Alexandria High School.”
This would allow members of the TCWHS Nation – we’ll define that as all those students, alumni, current and former faculty and staff – which number more than 50,000, to still be able to refer to their school by its acronym “T.C.” and it would have nothing to do with the life of the man for whom the school is currently named.
This small change would minimize the disenfranchisement of the people that have had an association with the school since 1965. Alumni and community support of ACPS should not be undervalued.
Flawed as it was, the 2000 film “Remember The Titans” has brought esteem and prestige to the school and tourists to our city and has furthered the desire among many on social media the past several months to maintain the T.C. moniker in some fashion in the new name. This would be a way to accomplish that.
We believe it would also benefit the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria as alumni contributors won’t feel disconnected but will still have a sense of coming home if “T.C.” is a component of the name.
The School Board of Arlington Public Schools was faced with a similar dilemma in renaming Washington-Lee High School, or W-L. Their Solomonic solution in order to retain the “W-L” legacy was to rename it Washington-Liberty High School, keeping W-L. This seems to be satisfying to their community. We believe our suggested change would have a similar effect here.
As residents, taxpayers and alumni of city schools, we ask you to adopt this change so that we can all remain “T.C. Titans.”
-J. David Mudd, TCWHS ’72, Barry R. Mudd, TCWHS ’74, Alexandria