T.C. Community Weighs In On Alternative T.C. Williams Names

Alexandria City High School for the win?

Owen Wright

In the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice, community leaders and Alexandria residents have revitalized a two-decades-long effort to change the name of the only public high school in Alexandria. The high school was named after Thomas Chambliss Williams, Superintendent of Alexandria’s public schools from the 1930s to the 1960s and known opponent of integration. Through an Instagram poll conducted by Theogony, members of the T.C. community voiced their opinions on alternative names for the school. The people have spoken; out of the 17 who responded, 11 explained why they preferred the name they chose. Here’s what they have to say:

Results of a poll posted on the Theogony Instagram. (To participate in polls like these, follow us on Instagram @tctheogony.)

Alexandria City High School

“They should make it the Alexandria high school because in the future it is basically impossible  for people to find offensive as opposed to naming it after people because what we think is considered to be a good human being won’t be 50 years from now.” —Eli Wilson, T.C. sophomore

“I pretty much thought since we go to school in Alexandria, the high school should be named after the city. Not after a racist.” —Nicole Rosario, T.C. senior

“The highest priority for me is to see the name changed, and I’m not all that picky about the new one. Even if our school was not as diverse a community as it is, it’s shameful that we would honor or lift up the legacy of a segregationist – especially when we’re nationally recognized from a movie about racial unity. I like the idea of keeping the initials not only because of that name recognition, but because it takes our school away from Thomas Chambliss and gives it to us, the City of Alexandria. This is the city’s school, and all are welcome.” —Ben Lyon, TV and media production and photography teacher

“It’s probably the most viable option considering how important T.C. is to Alexandria. It’s quite literally ‘the’ Alexandria high school. If the name has to change, it should be named for the city it represents.” —James Carlisle, T.C. Class of 2020 alum

“I think that naming the high school ‘Alexandria High School’ represents the city itself, and it’s really simple. It’s one high school for the whole city, that really unify us as a community, so why not name it after the city?” —Kendall Rayome, T.C. senior

Chinquapin High School

“T.C. was built on native grounds, these native grounds were the Chinquapin Oak Trees. That is what our Rec Center is named after. It’s important to respect the history of places, even if most people don’t know about it. Chinquapin High School would be our way of honoring the history of our land.” —Lily Fanning, T.C. sophomore

Petey Jones High School

“I just think that we as people tend to over glorify famous people. Petey Jones was someone who dedicated a big part of their life to this city and I think that that makes him a perfect candidate for a new school name.” —Judah Bawcombe, T.C. sophomore

Nolan B. Dawkins High School

“I want TC to be named after Judge Nolan B. Dawkins because he is a very influential figure in Alexandria specifically. He is an African-American circuit judge who just recently retired this year. He became Alexandria’s first African American Circuit Court Judge in 2000.” —Sarah Devendorf, T.C. senior

Parker-Gray High School

“Alexandria is known for its history, it’s the unique part about living in this city. If the school were to be renamed, changing the name to Parker-Gray High School, a name that has so much historical significance behind it that it would just make sense. It is part of our history. I think In conjunction to this, Parker-Gray stadium is already being upgraded and this could be changed to Titans Stadium or Boone – Yoast Stadium, again sticking with the history of the school, one important factor however is that no matter what the name change might/could be, we must still remain the Titans.” —Justice Jones, T.C. Class of 2011 alum