College and Career Wing Named in His Honor
Regina Allen and Maria Areyan Hernandez
As of May 7, the College and Career Center (CCC) is no longer nameless. A dedication ceremony was held at T.C. Williams High School in front of the CCC to celebrate Jack Taylor’s contributions to the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA) and name the CCC in his honor.
“It is the greatest honor I have ever gotten. To take a public school and name a wing after a private person is unprecedented,” said Taylor. “I am very excited about it– more so than any other award I have received. I have received some accolades over the years and I would much rather have [this award] than all those things put together.”
Taylor is the owner and one of the founders of Jack Taylor Alexandria Toyota, a car dealership located across from Potomac Yard.
Taylor has been supporting Alexandria’s civic and charitable organizations since 1992. For 27 years, Taylor has been involved with the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA), which supports high school students with financial aid and college advising.
According to Beth Lovain, Executive Director of the SFA, Taylor has donated $1.6 million both monetarily and in kind to the SFA. He has also helped to raise up to $75,000 through car raffle donations.
The idea of renaming the CCC came from a 2015 Theogony article that suggested the renaming because of his generous donations to the SFA. The staff writers created a petition and took it to the School Board.
The SFA considered this idea and petitioned to name the CCC after Jack Taylor and his Alexandria Toyota franchise in June 2017. In April 2018, Taylor’s business name was removed because under Policy FF, school institutions cannot be named after businesses entities. Finally, on October 11, 2018, the School Board members voted unanimously to rename the CCC after Jack Taylor.
Lovain said Taylor often matches donations to the SFA, where companies donate to non-profit organizations and encourage other companies to donate, doubling or tripling the organization’s total donation goal.
“[Matching donations] is a big part of his [generosity]. He will give us a certain amount of money as a match to inspire other businesses or other people to [donate] money. He has helped us generate funds that way through his matches,” said Lovain.
Over the years, Taylor’s contributions have had a huge impact on making college possible for high school seniors. Lovain shared that Taylor has generated funds that have helped an entire senior class go to college. “He finds his way to do better. He is super generous and creative about [finding] ways he can help.”
Taylor not only raises funds for the SFA, but he also helps The Run for Veterans, Art on the Avenue, Del Ray Music Festival, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), and the Parkinson’s Foundation of the National Capital Area.
“With the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), he will, every year, send a donation to all PTAs of ACPS… He would just give a gift [because he knew they were] doing good things for the kids,” Lovain said.
A design team for the school made several physical changes to the newly inaugurated Jack Taylor College and Career Wing. “We changed the lighting and the wall painting. We put up a big screen TV where information about college will be rolling through,” said Principal Peter Balas.
“We wanted to enhance the entire hallway,” said Balas. “Jack wanted something that was not going to be about him, but that the kids could use. He wanted the hallway to be an inviting, exciting place to be in and reduce the intimidation factor for kids who might not normally access college resources or scholarship information.”
Several new additions were made to the wing, including “touch bases” where students can put their belongings, fill out documents and charge laptops or cell phones as they wait to be helped by a staff member.
Taylor is committed to sending students to college, and his son John plans on continuing that legacy. “As long as there is a child that wants to go to college, who cannot go to college because of financial reasons, my company is going to be there to help those children,” Taylor said.