Opinion in a Pinch
MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT

Press Releases

  

Candidate X supports Blacksburg High School's traditional name

Note: The candidate's name and other identifying details were removed from this posting by request.

(Dateline) Candidate X issued the following statement today regarding the proposed Blacksburg High School name change:

"Four members of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors recently voted to suggest the School Board consider naming the new high school in Blacksburg something other than "Blacksburg High School." That would undermine long-standing academic tradition.

I understand the Supervisors' argument, and there is some logic to it. The school serves more than just the residents of Blacksburg. Students come from all over the northern part of the county, from communities that include Prices Fork, Long Shop, McCoy and the Catawba Valley. It has never been just a school for Blacksburg. Nor has it ever claimed to be.

Montgomery County traditionally has named high schools in the two incorporated towns after the towns themselves even though their attendance zones are broader. The practice acknowledges that the largest share of students come from the towns. It also builds a sense of community and identity.

"Blacksburg High School" is more than a name. It is a bundle of traditions, history and memories. Graduates spanning decades hold the school and its name precious. Changing the name would diminish that spirit. I am a proud graduate of County High School, and I certainly would be outraged if someone suddenly declared that that name was not good enough.

Changing the name so soon before the high school opens in the fall also would be expensive. School officials estimate that just replacing a new electronic sign would cost $20,000. Uniforms, stationary and other materials could quickly escalate that cost. Local schools already face significant financial challenges without having unnecessary expenses thrust upon them.

With the opening of the new high school, the county is finally close to putting behind it the divisive arguments that followed the collapse of the Blacksburg High School gymnasium. This new debate can only aggravate divisions when all residents should be working together for a shared future.

Blacksburg High School is an excellent name that embodies decades of success and promises decades more. If supervisors want only to reflect geographic attendance zones, they would ask Auburn or Christiansburg high schools to change their names, too. They choose, instead, to single out Blacksburg for some unfathomable reason."

Christian Trejbal