Alexandria, VA

With the school board voting to rename T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School, the question remains: rename them to what?

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) has opened that question to students with an essay and poster campaign.

“The second phase of The Identity Project — the selection of new names — will ensure that students, staff, alumni, families, and the community are all heard,” ACPS said on the school district’s website. “Most importantly, we want to keep the next generation and our students’ voices at the heart of this process. To assist the community with suggested names for both schools, we are inviting students to participate in a student essay/poster campaign to submit names for community consideration.”

Broader community voices will be considered later in the process, ACPS said.

Each student is invited to submit one name for each school. School regulations state that schools can be named for:

  • A person — Presidents of the United States, Virginia historical figures, or specific individuals that have made a significant and extraordinary contribution to the City of Alexandria in terms of education, public service, or involvement in civic or cultural activities over an extended period of time. Active/current employees of Alexandria City Public Schools are not allowed.
  • A place — Places or events in history that are related to the school facility or its location

NOTE: School names are NOT limited to these categories and other suggestions can be submitted and will be considered. School names that could cause confusion with other public facilities in Alexandria or with other adjoining jurisdictions and other areas of the Commonwealth of Virginia should be avoided.

ACPS regulation states that schools can be renamed after individuals who have made contributions to a school, program, or the school division as a whole — provided the school is not named for an active ACPS employee. Schools may also be renamed for a place or event of historic significance related to the school

To submit a name for consideration, students can submit a 200-word or fewer essay or a poster explaining or illustrating why they believe that name is appropriate to replace T.C. Williams High School or Matthew Maury Elementary School.

“Please encourage students to research names and submit their entries through the Identity Project nomination form,” ACPS said. “Entries will be accepted starting Dec. 9, 2020 through the deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2021.”

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