Time for a Change

The students of Jefferson-Houston’s Builders Club were interested in contributing to the process of the T.C. Williams High School name change.  Students learned about the history of T.C. Williams and recommended new names. In researching the history of Alexandria, they selected other notable citizens and wrote essays to nominate individuals to be considered when re-naming the school.

Teachers: Joseph Neal and David Paladin

Students: Students in Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 I.B. School’s Builders Club

Driving Question: How can I effectively participate in everyday civic life involving my community?

Standards of Learning: 

Civics and Economics:

CE.4g – The student will demonstrate personal character traits that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life by g)   practicing service to the school and/or local community.

CE.3e – The student will apply social science skills to understand citizenship and the rights, duties, and responsibilities of citizens by e)   evaluating how civic and social duties address community needs and serve the public good.

The 5Cs:

The project addresses Citizenship Skills regarding Virginia’s Five C’s, particularly when it comes to researching/understanding the past, putting in the effort to participate in the present and caring about the future.  After the students researched who Thomas Chambliss Williams was and what he advocated, the students came up with the idea that it was time to make a change. 

John C. Albohm’s actions are incredibly important and should be memorialized in Alexandria. He is the reason that students of black, white, and copper skin can learn together. I also find it fitting to change the name from a superintendent who fought for segregation to the superintendent who gave students some educational freedom. We’re undoing T.C. William’s mess by renaming our high school after the man who gave us hope.

-excerpt of essay by Skye Whitmer

Vola Lawson was an incredible woman; she was our first female city manager for 15 years from 1985 to 2000. She helped animals, lower housing, and many more causes…She also joined the Urban League, participating in civil rights demonstrations and becoming an advocate for Alexandria’s lower-income communities.

Vola Lawson did many great things for this city and I believe that she should get more recognition for what she did she served this city from a very young age fought for the citizens of Alexandria she worked hard to preserve affordable housing and to help City residents in need and that’s why I believe that she should be the new name of T.C. Williams to Vola Lawson High School.

-excerpts of essay by Perla Cabrera Torrea