Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Historical Perspective on TC Wiliams

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Historical Perspective on TC Wiliams

I wanted to thank you for publishing John Komoroski’s piece on his graduating class at T.C. Williams High School in 1967 (“Remember the First Titans: Starting a School, Ending an Era,” Sept. 28). They were the first graduating class in the school’s history. It’s very important to add some historical context and depth. This area has become very transient and a lot of our institutional knowledge and cultural heritage has fallen by the wayside.

There is a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance concerning the history of the school and the city. That silly and historically inaccurate Disney farce of a movie, “Remember the Titans,” has done a disservice to the actual record of what happened back in that era.

Let me add a few points about the early history of T.C. Williams High. The school’s original colors were red and gold. Their athletic uniforms resembled those of the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. (“the West Point of the South”).

Were these colors chosen because Mr. T.C. Williams himself was a graduate of VMI? Mr. T.C. Williams served as superintendent of Alexandria schools from the 1930s up through the early 1960s. He graduated from VMI in 1915. I also have heard that TC’s first principal Mr. Harold Secord was a VMI graduate.

In the years from 1965 to 1969, the Titans home varsity football games were played at night under the lights at George Washington High’s massive stadium. In late October 1969, the City of Alexandria decided to ban night high school football games due to crowd control problems and racial tensions.

In 1970, the Titans began playing their varsity home football games at their own stadium. In 1971 the controversial decision was made to consolidate Alexandria’s three high schools. The creation of the “super school” at T.C. Williams marginalized many students. Far too many were lost in the shuttle.

Bigger was not necessarily better. A case can be made that the average person was better served when we had three separate 4-year high schools.

In 1971, busing kids across the city for misguided social engineering purposes became the new order of the day. The concept of the neighborhood school was lost. We’ve never really recovered from those turbulent ties.

Gregory G. Paspatis

T.C. Williams

Class of 1978