T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, named in honor of a former Superintendent of Schools, opened its doors in 1965. The school has grown into one of the most respected, comprehensive public high schools in the country.
Well over 80% of the students go on to post-secondary education. T.C. has one of the most diverse student bodies in America with students from over 84 countries, speaking 56+ languages in its halls and classrooms.
In 1959, five years after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling that separate but equal schooling is inherently unequal and unconstitutional, Alexandria formally desegregated its public school system. But, inequities in the diversity of neighborhood populations caused the school system to slowly migrate toward racial imbalance.
In 1971, the Supreme Court ruling on the Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case legitimized busing as a method to achieve desegregation. Alexandria adopted the K6-2-2-2 Plan (Kindergarten through sixth grade at one school, two years in middle school, two years in Junior High School and two years in Senior High School) to bring racial and economic balance to its school system.
Two High Schools, George Washington (GW) and Francis Hammond (FH) were changed to Junior High Schools and T.C. Williams High School (TCW) became the Senior High School. All the city’s freshman and sophomores were divided between GW and FH, all the juniors and seniors attended TCW.
This dramatic, sudden change caused a lot of tension and apprehension. As the only three high schools in the City, there had been strong rivalries and competition between the schools for the city and district championships at all levels of academic and athletic competition.
One of the strongest, bitterest rivalries was in football. As luck would have it, football, the ultimate team sport, would be the first big test of success or failure for the new system. Little did the football team know that they would set the tone for the entire community in a time of tension, conflict, and mistrust.
Under tough, uncompromising leadership the players developed a strong bond as a team through a common suffering which stripped away any prejudices based on race, economic status, or cultural beliefs. Their success and dominance on the field began to influence the rest of the school and the community. The community began to feel a bond on to itself, that together they could get through those turbulent times and make Alexandria a better place to live. The success of that team and the sense of community they helped foster are still subjects of discussion within the city today.
In September of 2000, the players, coaches, and cheerleaders of this Championship team formed the '71 Original Titans Foundation. The Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping high school students pursue post-secondary education.
As a Named Scholarship of the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, the Foundation provides educational support to eligible seniors from T.C. Williams High School in the form of a renewable grant for four years. The first scholarship was awarded to a Senior from T.C. Williams High School’s class of 2002.