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Jack Jouett Middle School committee narrows list of potential names to five

Following a community meeting last week, the committee reviewing the name of Jack Jouett Middle School has settled on five potential names and wants community feedback.

In addition to keeping the name as is, the other potentials are Hope, Peace and Justice; Journey; Monacan; and Katherine Johnson, according to a division news release. The survey is open and can be accessed at survey.k12insight.com/r/ntvQwS. The committee will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 7 to hear comments before picking three finalists.

Hope, Peace and Justice was one of the top names suggested on the first community survey, in which most respondents preferred keeping the current name.

Journey would represent students’ paths in life, according to the release, and Monacan would be in honor of the Indigenous people who inhabited the Piedmont region for thousands of years.

Johnson was a long-time NASA official whose groundbreaking work was highlighted in “Hidden Figures,” a book that was adapted to film. Several other Virginia school systems are looking to name schools after Johnson.

“As we have said from our initial organizational meeting, the views of Jouett families, students, teachers and staff are essential to our deliberations,” said Hannah Peters, a Jouett teacher who is chairing the committee. “Our discussions were enriched by the more than 700 responses to our first survey last month. The more participation by community members, the more inclusive our work will be in reaching a decision that best represents our values, our mission and our aspirations.”

The committee, which is made up of parents, students, teachers and community members, has been researching Jack Jouett, a Revolutionary War captain, and the school’s history. The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a descendant of Jouett wrote to the committee in support of keeping the name.

“Our chapter suggested the name for the middle school, worked to have it accepted and attended the opening,” the chapter wrote. “We strongly believe it is vital for patriots such as Jack Jouett to be remembered for their heroism.”

Jouett was a Revolutionary War soldier who is famous for riding 40 miles to warn members of the General Assembly who had retreated to Charlottesville that British soldiers were coming. The committee noted in its research that Jouett bought a Kentucky farm in the late 1700s and employed enslaved labor. As many as 25 men, women and children were reported to have been enslaved by Jouett during his life, according to the committee.

The school opened in 1966. The division was fully integrated by 1967.

“It’s stories and patriots like Jack Jouett who should not be forgotten,” the DAR chapter wrote. “Our students need to know that they can also step up and do extraordinary things. He should remain in our educational curriculum and on this school to honor and celebrate the role that this patriot played in our American Revolution.”

Jack Jouett is the fifth school to go through a name review. So far, only Virginia L. Murray Elementary School’s name has remained unchanged following a review.

The Jouett committee ultimately will make a recommendation to schools Superintendent Matt Haas about the school’s name. The School Board has the final say.

Any potential name change would go into effect July 1, 2022.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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