Robert E. Lee High School (Fairfax County, Virginia)
|Robert E. Lee High School|
6540 Franconia Road
|School type||Public, high school|
|School district||Fairfax County Public Schools|
|Color(s)||Blue and Gold ██|
|Feeder schools||Key Middle School Washington Irving Middle School|
|Rival schools||West Springfield High School T.C. Williams High School|
|Athletic conferences||National District|
Robert E. Lee High School (Lee High School) opened in 1958 and is located in Springfield, Virginia. The school is named after Robert E. Lee, an American and Confederate soldier, best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army. He commanded the Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Administration
- 4 International Baccalaureate program
- 5 Student activities
- 6 Sports
- 7 Notable alumni
- 8 References
- 9 External links
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2016)
At the time the school opened, the Fairfax County school board was opposing racial integration (need citation) of its schools and the name reflected the school board's sentiments. (This is an un-sourced claim)
According to the above unsourced and controversial footnote: "In Fairfax County,.... they defiantly named their next two high schools after Confederate army generals—J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee." In the School Board meeting minutes of 5/20/1958, Lee High School was simply named "Lee" for the Lee district. The battle for the school name began on Dec 7th 1954, three years before construction had started and three and a half years before the school was opened and numerous articles spoke to the acrimony in the communities of Franconia and Springfield who both wanted to claim the school name for their community.
This school was located on Franconia Rd, on the border of Franconia and Springfield, the area had a Springfield address, and it was in the Lee district of Virginia.
In Feb 4th 1958 Meeting a local historical group suggested a compromise. The Upper Pohick Community League submitted a letter proposing that the School Board adopt a policy naming Fairfax County schools for prominent Virginians instead of by place names and that the Franconia High School be renamed something like "Fitzhugh, Lee, etc."
In the May 6th 1958 meeting, Mr. Solomon made a motion that all future new high schools in Fairfax County be named for some prominent American, now deceased. Mr. Solomon qualified it by stating that the "Franconia H. S." is not to be included in this motion, just those under construction, or proposed. Therefore a place name was needed for this school. Fortunately both communities were in the Lee district of Virginia and a compromise was reached on a place name.
In a May 8, 1958 article in the Washington Post Mr. Woodson said ..."he is surprised and disappointed that we have this type of controversy among adults. I don't want the children coming to this school saying I'm from Springfield…I'm from Franconia…let's fight. Gangs tend to develop in communities where there is controversy. " In a Northern Virginia Sun article dated October 8, 1958, Mr. Davis School Board member states …."He'd rather name a school Podunk then get into the battle like was over Lee High school." The article further notes that the name JEB Stuart was chosen because he had his headquarters on Munson Hill, the site of the school.
The naming of High Schools in order were Lee, (for the Lee district, May 1958), Jeb Stuart and James Madison ( same meeting,Oct 7th in 1958). Thomas Edison, George Marshall, and W.T. Woodson in 1960, Thomas Jefferson in 1962. In addition nine intermediate schools were named by the exact same School Board in May 1959. Among those school names were John G. Whittier and Henry Thoreau.  Fifteen schools were named and only one was for a Confederate General. In 1963 Lee was renamed at the request of the SPTA. (SB minutes 7/16/63). That was six years later.
Regarding Fairfax County's reaction to Brown: It was not Fairfax County's choice either before or after 1954. Fairfax County Schools like most Southern Schools were under De jure segregation. After the Brown VS Board of education decision Daniel Duke who authored Education Empire wrote: "Whether local school systems such as Fairfax County left to their own, would have moved forward to implement desegregation in the late 50's will never be known. Richmond removed any possibility of local option." it was recognized in court cases that it was the state who was running the show, not the county. They didn't have a choice. In the Virginia General Assembly: Delegates from Northern Virginia openly opposed the Stanley plans as well as calls for even more radical legislation. Virginia's 10th district was the only congressional district to vote against the Gray Plan.
In the 2016–2017 school year, Lee High School's total enrollment was 2132, with a student body composed of 36.84% Hispanic, 25.41% Asian, 20.07% White, 14.10% Black, and 3.58% other.
Lee High School has served the Springfield community since it opened in 1958. Like many schools in Fairfax County, Lee reflects the increasing diversity of its student body. Students come from 42 countries (mostly Hispanic) and speak more than 34 languages.
The integration of technology into the instructional program continues to be a major initiative. The labs are equipped with computers, digital cameras, and scanners for computer graphics and photography classes, and a fully computerized CAD lab is available for technical drawing and engineering classes.
Ms. Deirdre Lavery is the principal as of 2015.
Lee High School has a Career Center inside the school. It is currently run by Carla McIlnay-Shaw (From the Career Center) Its goal is to provide students with college planning services through the use of computer software, videos, catalogs and visits by college representatives from state and national colleges and universities. Career planning, military options, scholarship and financial aid information are also available. Throughout the year, many special programs are presented for both parents and students.
International Baccalaureate program
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program is open to all 11th and 12th grade students at Lee High School and presents a "varied and rigorous" program of studies. IB is a comprehensive, integrated program that places as much value on the process of knowledge (teaching the student to analyze and apply knowledge) as the product (preparing the student for the content and assessments). IB courses present options for students to pursue a mixture of major interests (higher level courses) and less major interests (standard level courses).
In preparation for the IB program, there is an MYP (Middle years project) in which all Sophomores at Lee have to do a project on anything they would like to learn, or do. After students have finished the project and presented it, they will then write an "essay" about their project that will be graded by the supervisor of their choice. Although, even after two years of this project being at Lee, the system has had many glitches and has been unfair. "My supervisor gave me a good grade on my essay that I have worked really hard on. I was devastated to hear that the MYP coordinator decided to change my grade and give me an F" (Anonymous). Many students were upset to hear that their grade was being completely altered by the coordinator who was not in charge of grading the essays. "This project did not prepare me for the IB program. This project was not beneficial, but more like a burden for many students including myself. The coordinator of this project always uses 'learning how to bake better cookies' as a project example. Although, writing journal entries about how to bake good cookies will not prepare students for the IB program" (Anonymous). Many students have brought valid points about why this project should be changed to something beneficial and more worthwhile.
With the IB program offered at Lee High School, students are provided with an internationally recognized educational program which purports to provide a more rigorous and college-preparatory education. Furthermore, an advantage of taking IB courses in Lee High School is that students get a chance to receive college credit (although the more common Advanced Placement, or AP, program also provides college credit.) Getting college credit depends on the score the student gets on their IB exam, usually a 6 or 7, and the guidelines for IB transfer credit the college or university the student chooses to attend has.
International Baccalaureate has been criticized by conservative and anti-globalist organizations and commentators for its links to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and various alleged biases in the curriculum.
Students are selected for membership through an application process and sometimes interviews are conducted. Candidates must meet the chapter's requirement for scholarship, service, leadership and character in order to be selected for membership. Continued participation in service projects is required to retain membership. Members must also maintain the chapter's required cumulative GPA and have a good understanding of the language, or specialty.
The Student Government Association consists of elected and selected students who represent the entire student body. The objectives of the SGA are to promote school spirit, initiative and unity among the different classes and students, coordinate school activities and to provide a means of communication among administration, faculty and students. The SGA sponsors Homecoming Dance, Homecoming Elections, Powder Puff Game, Chili Cook Off, Homecoming Parade, Family Feud, The Senior vs. Faculty Basketball Game, Blizzard Blast, Mr. and Ms. Irresistible, International Night, three pep rallies (Fall, Winter, Spring), class elections and balloting among many other school activities.
The Lance is Lee High School's monthly newspaper. A student-run newspaper with a staff of approximately 20, The Lance covers news and events in the school, community, and nation. The Lance won Trophy Class, the highest honor bestowed by the Virginia High School League (VHSL), in 2003–2004 and 2005–2006.
The Shield, Lee's yearbook, serves as an informational record, memory and historical reference for the students and faculty as well as the Lee High School's community at-large. The Shield covers academics, sports, student activities and student accomplishments with fairness and accuracy. The content is decided upon by the student staff members enrolled in Photojournalism 1, 2, and 3. Recruiting to become part of the staff typically takes place in early February when course selections are being made for the next year. Students are selected through a process that includes a written application, teacher recommendations and interviews OR through successful completion of Journalism 1. Lee's 2006–2007 edition of the yearbook was named a Pacemaker finalist.
The Troubador is a literary magazine by and for the students of Robert E. Lee High School, published to promote an interest in the arts by showcasing student art and literature.
The Theatre Department at Lee High School produces two mainstages a year: a fall play and a spring musical. One of the mainstage shows, is selected as the Cappies competition piece. Lancer Theatre Department also usually produces a competition piece in October to perform at the Virginia Theatre Association conference. Lancer Theatre's Thespians, troupe 362 of the International Thespian Society, produces an annual Murder Mystery dinner show in September, a Lancer Idol voice competition in December, theatre parties, fundraising, and other community events. To be part of the Thespian Honors Society one must collect 30 points in theatre, which are obtained by being in shows, seeing productions, and so on. Lancer Theatre also has a Drama Club that is open to all current and alumni Lee students. Drama Club includes theatre updates, food, fun, games, and theatre sports. Finally, Lee High School offers theatre classes, including Theatre 1–4, IB Theatre 1–2, and Technical Theatre.
The marching band includes members from the top two bands, Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. Also referred to as the Marching Lancers, they attend all the varsity home football games, and play during the halftime show.
In the 2006 year, The Lee Marching Lancers achieved a superior rating at the VBODA state marching festival, in Winchester, and later received the title of a "Virginia Honor Band."
A lot of speculations about marching band being a sport have gone around Lee High School. Multiple scholars and researchers have debated for years. But now it has been confirmed that it is a sport.
Lee High School offers an array of sports and sporting clubs, including Football, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Tennis, Lacrosse, Track and Field, Swimming, Diving, Wrestling, Golf, Indoor Track, Cross Country, Marching band, Field Hockey, Softball, and Volleyball. Sports are offered at Freshmen, Junior Varsity, and Varsity levels. Lee's sports compete in Virginia's National District.
Track and field
Robert E. Lee High School has a successful Track and Field program. It has produced All-District, All-Region, All-State and All-American athletes. In 2007 the Lee track team came in third in the AAA Virginia State meet. Track coach Gary Powell was awarded Coach of the Year by the Washington Post in 2007. Many Lee track team athletes continue on with their Track and Field careers onto the collegiate level, including alumnus Terry Cobb (Class of 1966) and Sean Holston (Class of 2007).
The Girls' Varsity Basketball team won the Northern Region title for the 2007–2008 season. The Boys' basketball team had a notable alumni Sirvaliant Brown who attended George Washington University in 2001 and was second in the nation in scoring as a freshman.
The Lancer softball program has shown considerable improvement over the past 5 years. In 2015 they were ranked as high as #6 in the All-Met rankings and have made regionals the past four years in a row. (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
Lately the only spring sport that has made it to regionals twice in the Patriot District.
Lee's Tyler Spears from the Class of 2014, won the Patriot District Golf Title in October 2010, 2nd place in October 2012 and won in October 2012. He became the first Lee golfer to win the Golf title in 13 years.
Overall, the Golf team won second place in the Patriot district Tournament in 2012.
- Anne Abernathy, Class of 1971 - "Grandma Luge" has made six appearances in the Winter Olympics and in 2016 Summer Olympics for archery; listed in Guinness Book of Records as first woman over age 50 to compete in the Winter Olympics.
- Sarah Baker, Class of 1991 - actress best known for roles in movies such as The Campaign and Mascots and TV shows like Louie and Go On.
- Melissa Belote – triple gold medalist in 1972 Summer Olympics in swimming.
- Darren "Venus Brown" Floyd (graduated 1987) – A&R / executive producer of will.i.am, The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Macy Gray.
- Bill Courtney, Class of '88- Bucknell University basketball player, College basketball coach
- John Engelberger, Class of 1995 - defensive end for Virginia Tech, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.
- Sabrina Harman (graduated 1996) – U.S. Army reservist convicted in connection with the 2003–2004 Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Baghdad, Iraq.
- Robert Nabors II - Director for Legislative Affairs for President Barack Obama.
- Christina Tosi, Class of 1999 - chef, author, and television personality on MasterChef.
- "Lee High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- Gjelten, Tom. (uncited claim) A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story. Simon and Schuster, September 15, 2015. ISBN 1476743851, 9781476743851. p. 56. "In Fairfax County, the authorities did not merely refuse to comply with the Supreme Court's order; they defiantly named their next two high schools after Confederate army generals—J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee."
- 5/7/1958 Washington Post "Feud over School Names settled by Fairfax Board 8/8/1958 Northern Virginia Sun "The history of the Franconia/Lee battle 11/20/1957 Evening Star "Franconia Name Opposed" 4/24/1958 Springfield Independence "Board Changes High School Name" 4/15/1958 Evening Star 'Residents Protest School Name"
- "Upcl - The Sydenstricker Schoolhouse - Springfield, Virginia". The Sydenstricker Schoolhouse. 1954-07-26. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
- NY Times (available in Washington Post archives) Nov 15, 1885. "Fitzhugh Lee's family" written by Fitzhugh Lee.
- NY Times (available in Washington Post archives) April 29, 1905"Fitzhugh Lee dead"
- Clermont (Alexandria, Virginia)
- The Washington Post Archives 5/8/1958 "Feud over school names settled"
- Northern Virginia Sun 10/8/1958 "Renaming of two schools"
- Daniel Duke. Education Empire Pg. 18 July 2005 Suny Series, Educational Leadership ISBN 0-7914-6493-8
- FCPS – School Profiles – Lee HS – Demographics
- "Robert E. Lee High School: Administrators". Fairfax County Public Schools. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Robert E. Lee High School: Career Center". Fairfax County Public Schools. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "The Downside of International Baccalaureate". Show and Tell for Parents.com. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Boys' Indoor Track". The Washington Post. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Davenport, Christian; Amon, Michael (2004-05-09). "Accused Soldiers a Diverse Group". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-21.