by Elizabeth Sponaugle and Kate Billingsley

Saturday Sept. 9 at 10:00am a name change meeting was held in the auditorium of J.E.B. Stuart High School. It was the first in a series of steps to determine the new name for J.E.B. Stuart High School. It started with a quick introduction by the superintendent, Dr. Scott Brabrand, followed by a Q&A, then attendees got the chance to advocate for the names they suggested. Dozens of names were suggested, all of which will be on the ballot for next week’s vote.

Upon entering the meeting, attendees were handed an index card, in order to write their name suggestions. All names were accepted as long as they met the standards of SR&R. This meeting was open to the public, not just residents in the Stuart area.

After the introduction by Brabrand, attendees were invited to stand and advocate for the name they wished to be selected. More than 35 people lined up in the auditorium to speak on behalf of their suggested name choice. Dozens and dozens of potential names were projected for citizens in attendance to view, some were serious suggestions, while others were jokes.

The next step in the renaming process will be the vote*. The vote will be next Saturday, Sept. 16, at 10:00am to 6:00pm. The dozens of name suggestions will be listed alphabetically on the ballot. Unlike the name suggestion meeting, only households within the Stuart area will be allowed to vote, and there will be one vote per household. Each household will be allowed to vote for their first, second, and third choice of name suggestions.

After the public vote, the top three names will be determined based on a points system. If a name was chosen as a first choice, it will receive three points. Names chosen as second choices will be given two points, and names chosen third will obtain one point. The top three names will be submitted to the school board for discussion by Oct. and educational sessions will be held in order to help the board members learn and understand more about each of the names chosen.

The results of the vote will be open to the public and posted on the Fairfax County Public Schools website. The current plan is that there will be a new name selected for J.E.B. Stuart High School by the end of Oct.

Many attendees inquired about the funding process for the new name. It was made clear that outside donors will sponsor a large portion of the change, however who these donors are is unclear.

Another concern that was repeatedly expressed was about new mascot and school colors that are to be affiliated with the new name. In a handout provided by FCPS, it was stated “students typically decide on the mascot/colors.” This will give the student body a way to be involved and have a voice in the change.

Throughout this process, remember Raiders, “We Are One!” Brabrand spoke in a similar matter, saying “Regardless of the final name, this is a remarkable school.”

* – for more information on the voting process, how to vote, and what is needed visit https://theraidersdigest.com/2017/09/10/how-to-vote-for-the-name-change/