Generations of students concerned about Washington-Lee High School’s name change

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An Arlington County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Arlington County School Board’s plans to rename Washington-Lee High School.  

Alumna, Jennifer Lam is devastated about what she calls a potential change in her history. 

“I’m pretty devastated that there’s a potential for the name to change. It’s not just about Robert E. Lee’s history, it’s about our family’s history and other people’s history,” she explained. 

For five generations, her family has attended Washington-Lee High School, which may soon be called Washington-Loving or Washington-Liberty after the school board decided to get rid of the Lee after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

“I think Washington-Liberty and Washington-Loving are great names but I think they would be great names for a brand new school,” Lam said.  

“It’s disappointing that we’re also spending a lot of money on this,” her father, Lawrence Lam, who graduated from Washington-Lee in 1977 said. “It’s definitely a family tradition… 80 years of family history and the county board could just blow that off but it means something,” he added.  

A few years ago Jennifer decided to leave her townhouse in Chantilly so that her daughter, Mikaela Figueroa-Lam, could graduate from the same school as almost all of her maternal extended family.

“I had to leave a bunch of my really good friends just to get a better education and to graduate where my family went,” Mikaela said. 

Washington-Loving and Washington-Liberty were chosen as the final choices for the new name at last night’s board meeting. The board will vote on a winner in January. 

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