School will not start in Alexandria for four more weeks but T.C. Williams High School is already preparing for students.
On Sept. 7, those students will not see the construction at the school that many anticipated. The rebuilding and renovation project was originally scheduled to begin in earnest this summer. However, the company that won the contract has submitted a project timeline that calls for construction to begin in December and finish as originally scheduled in March, 2007.
“Some of the trailers are here but most will not be ready for occupancy at the beginning of school because they must be inspected,” said T. C. principal John C . Porter. “We have moved some of the career and technical education programs out of the career wing (the first building to be renovated) into the main facility.” These programs include cosmetology, culinary arts and two others.
Programs that were displaced by moving the career and technical education programs will be temporarily relocated to the career wing until the trailers are ready. “Everyone will have a classroom on the first day of school,” Porter said.
Construction has affected the fall football schedule. “We have been very fortunate to be able to reschedule all of our home games to either Episcopal High School or to Wakefield High School in Arlington,” said T.C. Athletic Director A.K. Johnson. “The principals at those schools have been very generous and we are very grateful.”
The first home game will be played at Wakefield. “They are redoing their stadium and we are hopeful that everything will be ready for us,” Johnson said.
Homecoming will be held at Episcopal. “We will have all of the usual festivities and we expect everything to go smoothly,” Johnson said.
The one home game that could not be rescheduled to a neutral site is the T.C. vs. Lake Braddock contest. “Because of other scheduling, we just couldn’t find a place for this game,” Johnson said. “Lake Braddock will host that contest.”
The biggest change, academically, is the expansion of the laptop program. Last year, students at the Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center were given laptop computers for use at home and in the classroom. This year, all students in grades nine through 12 will have laptops.
“The staff has received training this summer and will integrate these computers into the curriculum,” Porter said.
ADMINISTRATIVELY, THERE ARE some changes. In the past, assistant and associate principals have been assigned to students by grade level. The grade-level principal that sophomores were assigned stayed with that class through senior year. That is no longer the case.
“To even the work load, we are assigning assistant and associate principals to students alphabetically, the same way we assign students to guidance counselors,” Porter said. “This will give every assistant or associate principal an opportunity to work with students across all grade levels. Eventually, we want to assign guidance counselors to specific assistants but that isn’t going to happen for a while because we are leaving our seniors with their guidance counselors.”
There are three associate principals at the school now and two new assistant principals.
Both band and orchestra have new directors. Vaughn Ambrose will serve as director of bands. Ambrose had been the band director at Francis Hammond Middle School. “We are all looking forward to working with Mr. Ambrose and so are the kids,” Porter said.
Henry Sgrecci will take the reins of the school’s orchestra. Sgrecci most recently worked with the Mt. Vernon orchestra. “He will be a real asset to our program,” Porter said. He is looking forward to the new school year. “There are going to be challenges as construction begins but I am excited about the upcoming year and believe that it will be a good one,” Porter said.
Classes will begin on Sept. 7. T.C. will hold its academic letter award ceremony on Sept. 8 and back-to-school night on Sept. 15.