The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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One year later: more on Jackson-Reed’s name change

It has officially been one year since the name of our school transitioned from Woodrow Wilson High School to Jackson-Reed High School. Underclassmen know the school as JR, but upperclassmen still cling onto the former name. Many students tend to prefer the name Wilson as it is not as lengthy of a name, but many students also fail to understand who and what Jackson-Reed is representing.

JR, formerly Wilson, was originally named after the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, in 1932. A couple years ago, people of the community expressed their concern with Wilson’s past, as he was known for supporting segregation and racism. 

Under the guise of a name change, options such as Northwest High School, Marion Barry (an influential past mayor of DC) and even August Wilson (an African-American playwright) to continue the name Wilson, gained popularity on the community-wide ballot. DC Council officially agreed on Jackson-Reed in early December of 2021, after 11 out of the 13 council members voted for the name change. 

The name was constructed as a combination between Vincent Reed, the first black principal at the school, and Edna B. Jackson, the first black teacher who was hired in 1955. 

With the official change to our school’s name, last year our school underwent renovations with an estimated cost of over $1 million. Changes were made to the outside sign in front of the school’s main entrance that exhibits the date and the time of the day as it had previously, along with the school’s new name. Along with that main entrance, appearing above the glass doors the signage has been altered from showcasing ‘Woodrow Wilson High School’ to ‘Jackson-Reed High School’, along with the concrete sign on the corner of Chesapeake Street and Nebraska Avenue. The floor of the atrium previously held a circle engulfing a tiger in the middle with the former name surrounding it, which has now been updated to reflect the school’s current name. The field in the school stadium has been redone to change the turf lettering as well as the gymnasium floor. 

As the biggest high-school in DC shifted from Woodrow Wilson to Jackson-Reed, redevelopment took over as the community was set on making the school’s community inclusive and welcoming to all of its students and the history of JR.

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Henley Kaminskas, Section Copy Editor
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