Alumni, faculty, School Board members and elected officials gathered in the halls of James Blair Middle School Wednesday night for the school’s dedication ceremony.
As a high school in the 1950s, and then a middle school until 2010 James Blair created a legacy that continues to this day.
“The names James Blair will always have an important place in Williamsburg’s history. While the man is best known for founding William and Mary, the name James Blair is synonymous with quality education in Williamsburg,” the school’s principal, Ty Harris, said.
Olwen Herron, Williamsburg-James City County School’s superintendent, echoed this sentiment. She said while the school has a long history of providing high-quality education for its students, she believed that legacy will continue.
“We are fortunate to have a staff here at James Blair that is dedicated to innovation and collaboration,” Herron said. “There work in this space will serve as a model moving forward as we bring in similar models and resources to classrooms across the division.”
For example, Herron said recently she had been in middle and elementary school classrooms that were implementing flexible seating and learning spaces like what is common throughout James Blair.
“I share that because I want you and our families to understand that (W-JCC’s) commitment to creating 21st-century learning spaces is not limited to James Blair Middle School, although this school is our most obvious example,” Herron said.
Ruth Larson, chair of James City County Board of Supervisors, and Paul Freiling, the mayor of Williamsburg, unveiled the school’s new plaque to the excited crowd.
Freiling said as of Wednesday night it had been one year, 49 weeks and six days since ground was first broken for the school. He said on that day over a year ago he thought a quality education was key to a successful economy.
“We will need workers who can meet the needs of a changing economy through collaboration, critical thinking and cross-disciplinary approaches to challenges,” Freiling said. “This is exactly the type of learning this structure will facilitate.”
The ceremony ended with a video of the old building being demolished, and the new one being built. This showed that even though the school’s infrastructure is brand new, it was built in the same as the old building.
“It is only fitting this new structure literally rises out of the shadows of the old structure that houses so many fond memories,” Harris said. “While we honor our past we recognize and look forward to the future.”
Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.