School Board Chooses Names For New Schools

School Board Chooses Names For New Schools

Loudoun’s newest set of schools now have names.

Two and a half months ago, the Loudoun County School Board created committees to name Elementary School 28, Middle School 7, High School 9 and High School 11.

In its regular May 9 meeting, the board moved to accept the committee recommendations and named the schools Goshen Post Elementary School, Willard Middle School, Lightridge High School and Independence High School.

Goshen Post commemorates Goshen Post Road and the colonial era postal stop which was located in the area. The postal stop was one of the earliest mail stops in the history of the emerging postal service, according to board documents.

Willard memorializes the African American community of the same name. Former slaves and their descendants farmed the area for generations. The African American community founded a church, the Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church and established the Willard School in 1890, according to board documents. The community of Willard was dissolved in 1958 when all 87 Willard area landowners had their property condemned by the federal government.

“Willard was a school and a village that was done away with,” said Friends of Thomas Balch Library Black History Committee Representative Larry Roeder said during public comment. “Right now, around us, in almost any part of Loudoun County, there are people who were born in Willard, went to the Willard school or are the children of people who went to the Willard school, with no recognition.”

Lightridge commemorates Loudoun’s agricultural history and the importance of the dairy industry, according to board documents. Light Ridge Farm, from which the road takes its name, operated as a dairy farm for over 60 years. Although it no longer serves the dairy industry, it is the last working farm east of Route 15 in Loudoun.

Lastly, Independence High School reflects national history and mirrors nearby high school, Freedom.

Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) commended the committees for the amount of research that went into picking names with historical significance to the county. He said this consideration had been missing from previous naming committees. Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) agreed.

“We’ve been through a number of these school namings, particularly schools in my district. As someone who loves history and appreciates the local history, I love that we’re looking at some of our local history and recognizing that,” Turgeon said.

All board members except Tom Marshall (Leesburg) voted in favor of adopting the name recommendations. Marshall attempted to split the question in order to consider adopting an alternate name suggestion for HS-11, Fred E. Drummond Jr. High School in place of Independence.

After serving two years with the Tuskegee Airman in WWII, Drummond began his career in education in Kentucky where he taught for five years. Drummond then took the job as principal and teacher at Banneker School in Loudoun County. He would go on to serve Loudoun for 36 years, serving as principal of Frederick Douglass Elementary School. Once Loudoun schools were integrated, he also served as principal at Broad Run High School and Leesburg Elementary School before completing his career at Catoctin Elementary School, where he served as principal for 18 years.

Turgeon said she’d like the name to come up again in future school namings, but she felt in this case, Independence was fitting. Beth Huck (At Large) echoed this sentiment, saying she felt a name with a “Jr.” at the end could confuse the public into thinking the school was a junior high as opposed to a high school.

“I’m glad to see the naming committees considered not only historical figures of the past, but also relatively recent historical figures and even current people who we know here who have given a lot of support for Loudoun County Public Schools,” Marshall said.

Goshen Post Elementary School and Willard Middle School are expected to open in fall 2018 in Aldie. Independence High School is set to open in fall 2019 adjacent to Brambleton Middle School in Leesburg and Lightridge High School is scheduled to open in fall 2020 off Lightridge Farm Road west of the Stone Ridge community.