On a quest to discover the largest high school in Virginia, your journey will take you to the city of Alexandria. Here, nestled within the urban landscape is the iconic Alexandria City High School. Alexandria City commands attention not only for its impressive size but also for its rich history. Its hallways pulsate with the energy of youthful aspirations and enthusiasm. As the largest high school in Virginia, Alexandria City High School serves as a beacon of hope and opportunity. Continue reading to learn more about the largest high school in Virginia and its notable alums!
Alexandria City High School at a Glance
|Name:||Alexandria City High School|
|Location:||Alexandria, Virginia (pop.154,704)|
|Category:||4-year public high school with a separate freshman campus|
|School Colors:||Red, white, blue|
|Selected State Championships:||Virginia AAA State Football Champions 1971, 1984, 1987|
Individual Track and Field State Champions, 2021
Girls’ Volleyball State Championship 2022
The City of Alexandria
Alexandria is a historic city in Fairfax County, Virginia. It is located on the Potomac River across from Washington, D.C. Founded in 1749, the city, as well as its surroundings, is steeped in colonial history. Its historic neighborhoods are quaint and welcoming in the backyard of the nation’s capital. King Street, on which Alexandria City High is located, is a bustling commercial thoroughfare that boasts restaurants, boutiques, and a Washington Metro station. The train takes passengers from Alexandria to Washington, D.C. in 20-25 minutes, a short trip from colonial cobblestones to the nation’s capital. Though Alexandria’s population is approximately 155,000, it is a part of the great Washington metropolitan area which boasts a population of 6.5 million.
Alexandria City High School
Alexandria City High School started life as T.C. Williams High School, opening its doors in 1965. Named after former school superintendent Thomas Chambliss Williams, the school’s initial purpose was to consolidate the racially segregated high schools in the area as part of the desegregation efforts of the Civil Rights era. The school gained national attention due to the challenges it faced as one of the first integrated high schools in Virginia. Many years later, the school was featured in the motion picture Remember the Titans, which depicts the winning season of its 1971 state championship football team. T.C. Williams High School was renamed Alexandria City High School in 2021. Ironically, T.C. Williams (the man) was a segregationist. Though a movement had long been afoot to remove his name from the school, the watershed moment was the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Alexandria City High School has a STEM Academy and a Health Sciences Academy. They offer Music and Theatre Arts diplomas. City High offers dual enrollment options and AP classes that allow students to earn college credits. They offer Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a program that focuses on preparing students for success in college. City also offers a Career/Technical option. Though they still have some achievement gaps that they need to close, City High has momentum! As of 2021 its dropout rate had decreased, whiles its graduation rate had increased. Alexandria City High School’s freshman class is housed about 1/2 mile (0.8 km) from the main campus on the Minnie Howard Campus. A new, state-of-the-art freshman facility is slated to open in 2024.
Alexandria City High School has a legacy of athletic glory. As touched on earlier, the school was immortalized in the 2000 film Remember the Titans. The biographical sports film rather loosely depicted the school’s 1971 state football championship. By most reports, Hollywood did not let the truth interfere with a good story, depicting the season with much more drama and intrigue than 0transpired. Because that’s what Hollywood does. The school garnered two more state football titles in 1984 and 1987. More recently, City’s girls’ volleyball team was state champs in 2022. Alexandria City High offers a variety of varsity sports. From baseball and basketball to golf and gymnastics; from soccer and softball to tennis and track, the school offers students 19 different sports teams on which to flex their muscles. The athletic teams go by the nickname Titans. Their colors are red, white, and blue.
Referred to as Clubs and Activities, Alexandria City High has approximately 60 separate and impressive options from which students may choose. From Anime, Aquarium, and Arabic Clubs to Women of the Future, Young Democrats, and Young Life, the school offers something for practically everyone. There are Coding, Chess, and Robotics Clubs. Scholastic Bowl, Science Bowl, and Science Fair teams are also available. Many of the clubs have virtual meetings. Most meet after school weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly.
In the majority of cases, fame and notoriety tend to elude individuals until after their high school years, unless they possess remarkable talents under exceptional circumstances. The years of adolescence are a period of growth in which skills and talents are discovered and honed. While a prodigy might stand out earlier, the majority find their path to recognition in the broader tapestry of life beyond the confines of high school. Herewith are some individuals who did just that.
Alexandria City High Notable Alumni
- Diedrich Bader: Bader, a 1985 graduate is an actor, voice actor, and comedian.
- Ronnie Bass: Bass was the starting quarterback of the 1971 state-champion football team.
- Gerry Bertier: Bertier was another player on the 1971 state championship football team. On the heels of winning the championship, Bertier was paralyzed from the waist down when he lost control of the car he was driving. He went on to achieve success as a Paralympian. Sadly, a second car accident 1n 1981 claimed his life.
- Nate Burkey; Burkey, a 2003 graduate, is a Filipino football player. Burkey’s mother is Filipina, which made him eligible to play for the Philippines on an international level. Since 2022 Burkey has been an assistant coach for the Philippines National Team.
- Keith Burns: Burns, a 1990 graduate of the school has had a stellar career in the NFL. Burns initially was a linebacker for the Denver Broncos. After a dozen seasons as a player, Burns became an NFL coach. He is presently the special teams coordinator at Tennessee State University.
- Charles Esten: Esten, an actor, musician, and comedian, is a 1983 graduate.
- Steven Ford: Ford is a son of former U.S. President Gerald Ford. He graduated from T.C. Williams in 1973. He is an actor.
- J. Holiday (Nahum Thorton Grymes): J. Holiday is a rapper and R&B singer. Holiday got his start as a singer while in high school.
More Notable Alumni
- Bruce Kelly: Kelly class of 1974, is a radio personality and troublemaker. He orchestrates hoaxes in headlines. One of his most notorious was announcing the death of the beloved animated series character Bart Simpson.
- Susan M. Kidwell: Dr. Kidwell, a 1974 graduate of T.C. Williams, is a paleontologist and geologist. The focus of her work is the formation of fossil records. She has won numerous awards for her research.
- Noah Lyles: Lyles graduated in 2016. He is a sprinter. Lyles took home the gold at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. An Olympic bronze medalist (Tokyo, 2020). Lyles currently holds the world record in the 200 m.
- Dermot Mulroney: Mulroney, class of 1981, is a prolific actor.
- Mojo Rawley (Dean Muhtadi): Mojo Rawley, class of 2004, is a WWE wrestler and former NFL player. Muhtadi became an intern for Morgan Stanley as a 7th grader.
- Donnell Rawlings: Rawlings, a 1987 grad, is a well-known actor and comedian. He was a regular on The Chappelle Show and The Wire.
- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt: Class of 2009, Ruffin-Pratt is a professional basketball player in the WNBA. She has played for the Washington Mystics and the Los Angeles Sparks.
- Kali Uchis (Karly-Marina Loaiza): Uchis is an award-winning singer/songwriter. Uchis is the recipient of Billboard, ASCAP, American Music, and Grammy Awards.
- Casey Wilson: Wilson, class of 1998 is an actress, screenwriter, and producer. She was a cast member of SNL for two seasons.
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