DID YOU KNOW...that the George Washington High School of Alexandria, Virginia opened in 1935?
      This photo was reproduced fromthe 1936 GW yearbook - 'The Compass'
      GWHS 'Alma Mater' by Philip Lester © 1947
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    Prior to September 1935,  Alexandria had three 4-year high schools.
    • ALEXANDRIA HIGH SCHOOL, was located in the 1400 block of Cameron St..  Adjacent to Alexandria High was Jefferson Elementary School, at 300 No.West St. where Jefferson-Houston Elementary now stands.
    • GEORGE MASON HIGH SCHOOL, was housed in the Mt. Vernon Elementary School Annex.   It was located at 2500 Mt.Vernon Ave., and is now known as Mt. Vernon Elementary.
    • PARKER-GRAY HIGH SCHOOL, which later became the Parker-Gray Middle School was originally located on Madison Street.
    In September 1935, the student bodies of Alexandria High School and George Mason High School were merged and the GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL opened. The old Alexandria High building became an annex to Jefferson Elementary School, while the old George Mason High became an annex to Mt.Vernon Elementary. 
      Mr. Henry T. Moncure was named as the first Principal of GW and began with a Student Body of approximately 1200 and a faculty of 35.
    Photo from 1936 GW Yearbook 'The Compass'
    Photo from 1936 GW Yearbook 'The Compass'
    At this time, both the School Board and theSuperintendent (Mr. T.C. Williams) were openly criticized for having built a school so large that there would never be a student body large enough to use the entire facility

    However, it soon became apparent that the BUILDING was not large enough.

    In 1937: 
    The distinctive, Art Deco style main building was first expanded by the addition of a south wing.   This wing housed the classrooms which were used for shop classes.
    The student body continued to grow. 
    In 1941: 
    A separate shop facility was constructed. 
    In 1947: 
    A full Industrial Arts Annex was added.   And, the GW Memorial Stadium, with a capacity to seat 14,800 persons, was constructed.
    In 1948: 
    A north wing was built, that housed the library, classrooms, and an extension to the cafeteria. 
    In 1956: 
    A second four-year high school, Francis Hammond High,was opened. 
    The student body was reduced at George WashingtonHigh. 
    In 1961: 
    The gymnasium facilities at GW were so inadequate that  the Tulloch Memorial Gymnasium was created.   At that time, the old gymnasium was converted into two music rooms and the old locker rooms were converted into classrooms  119, 121, 123,and 125. 
    In 1965: 
    A third high school, T.C. Williams High, was opened and again George Washington students were re-assigned according to geographical boundaries. 

    In the fall of 1971, following a secondary school reorganization, George Washington became a 9th and 10th grade school, as did Francis Hammond High School.  At this time, T.C. Williams was reorganized to house only the 11th and 12th grades.

    As a four-year high school, GWHS  had the following Principal's

    GW High Principals
    Henry T. Moncure 
    Edgar G. Pruet
    Robert (Gus) Garner
    Robert Parker 
    Richard Hills 
    1935-1943 1943-1963

    In September, 1979, after the second reorganization of the secondary schools within eight years, George Washington opened as a junior high school,as did Francis Hammond, housing grades seven through nine. 
    T.C. Williams continued as the city's only high school with grades ten through twelve. 
    In September, 1993, a third reorganization of the secondary schools, converted George Washington and Francis C. Hammond, into "middle" schools, housing grades six through eight. 
    A new school, Minnie Howard School, opened housing the 9th grade.  Currently, George Washington is in its 8th year as a middle school, and its' 66nd year as a school building. 
    Above article was adapted from Vol. 1 of “On GW”,(GWAA’sNewsletter) and from the GWAA 1st Annual Meeting handout... Photos from 1936 GW Yearbook 'The Compass'

    Our GW Fight Song

    On GW!, On GW!
    Fight hard for that line!
    Run the ball around opponents,
    Touchdown sure this time...
    Raise the colors...
    Show them fellows...
    This will bring us fame...
    Fight, Fellows...
    Fight, Fight, Fight!
    We’ll win this ga-a-ame!!
    "ON, GW"
    (in RealAudio format)
    Entire Song: 28.8 Stereo   14.4 Mono 
    The GW Fight Song was actually based on the original music for "On, Wisconsin!", which was composed in 1909 by William T. Purdy. It was later acclaimed by world famous composer and bandmaster,John Philip Sousa, as the best college song he had ever heard...

    On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin
    Plunge right throughthat line,
    Run the ball...
    Clear down the field,boys
    Touchdown sure thistime
    On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin
    Fight on for her fame,
    Fight, Fellows,
    Fight, Fight, Fight
    We'll win this game!.
    The tune was originally composed in1909 by Chicago's William Purdy, and the words were written by Carl Beck.  Purdy and Beck had been fraternity brothers at Hamilton College (Clinton,N.Y.) and were roommates in Chicago.  Purdy was going to submit the song for a $100 prize the University of Minnesota was offering for a new football song.   When Beck heard the music, he offered to write words and suggested that Purdy offer it to Wisconsin, where Beck had once studied.  The song was an instant hit on campus and spread throughout the world.  It was especially popular with military bands. Some 2,500 schools and colleges have adopted the music and changed the words to suit their needs. "On, Wisconsin" was sung for the first time at the 1909 homecoming game between Wisconsin and Minnesota.  The music was adapted by current Band Director Michael Leckrone in 1969. 
    The original version had been played virtually unchanged since its inception. "I got a lot of flak for that,"Leckrone said. "The old version was one you had to wait on. I wanted to generate immediate crowd reaction, so I stepped it up a bit."
    Copyright © 1995, University of Wisconsin -Madison, Intercollegiate Athletics ...
    We're always looking for new information and updates from GWHS grads  (any and all years)...
     ... so please eMail:...dlbeach@erols.com
    and include:
  • GW full name (then & now),  graduation year, 
  • address, phone #,  eMail address, and any other pertinent info.

  • Now on to...  Other GW pages
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    This site was created in March of 1997 by Dave Beach, Class of '55,for the Alumni of George Washington High School, Alexandria, Virginia, USA.  All images and pages are ©1997,1998,1999 dbProductions 

    Last Updated: (Mon) Apr 30, 2001 [11:05:25 AM]