In N. Virginia they don't name schools after presidents any more

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The Washington area suburbs of Virginia, befitting a state that supplied four of the first five U.S. presidents, has public high schools named after all of them, plus a nice sprinkling of famous Virginia generals.

Washington-Lee High School is in Arlington County. Jefferson, Madison, Lee, Marshall and J.E.B. Stuart high schools are in Fairfax County. Fredericksburg's only high school is named after James Monroe, and Prince William County has Stonewall Jackson High.

But over the past decade, even though 12 Northern Virginia high schools have opened to handle one of the fastest-growing populations in the country, not one of them has been named after a person, much less a president or a general. Instead, the various school-naming committees have embraced scenic, geographic or patriotic titles: Battlefield, Colonial Forge, Dominion, Forest Park, Heritage, Mountain View, Riverbend, South County, Stone Bridge, Westfield and two schools named Freedom.

Part of the problem, according to a recent study and some Northern Virginia school officials, is that presidents, particularly the more recent ones, and other well-known people tend to be controversial, whereas few Americans have bad things to say about rivers, lakes, forests or freedom.

Maryland is still naming high schools after people, but it appears to be out of sync with Virginia and much of the rest of the country.

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david little - 7/11/2007

For what it's worth, though, the school district that my kids go to names all new schools after teachers/educators who have distinguished themselves by long years of service to the children of the area. "Opal Hamilton" might not be a household name anywhere but here, but around here, everybody knows she spent 30 years as a teacher and principal; their is also the "Opal Hamilton Award" that goes to kids who have distinguished themselves by high grades, high levels of community service, and high levels of participation in extra-curricular activities, like speech/drama, athletics, etc.