Rebel Pride Rides for 75th Homecoming

Today is Homecoming at Fairfax High School. The school is celebrating its 75th homecoming game and dance.

The Parade starts at 4 pm from Van Dyke Park and goes down Old Lee Highway, right through the heart of Fairfax City. It ends at the football stadium on “Rebel Run.” Same as it ever was.

I know a little bit about this tradition. I graduated from FHS in 1986, which meant that I played in the 50th Homecoming game in 1985. I still have the white jersey with the “1935-1985″ patch. My son is wearing it for the parade.

A little history about FHS. It was originally sited on the old County fairgrounds on Lee Highway (today the site of Paul VI High School), before moving to its current site in 1973.

When the original site was chosen in the Thirties, the chairman of the County School Board was F. Sheild McCandlish, a local attorney and my great-grandfather. My grandmother remembered going with him to stake out the new building. (She spoke at our 50th homecoming celebration). It was the pride of the community.

At the time it was founded in 1935, Fairfax was the only full service (grades 9-12) public high school in Fairfax County. State law did not yet mandate education past eighth grade. That came later.

The original school was built between 1933-1935 with the help of Federal funds through the Public Works Administration, which was doling out cash for infrastructure projects in order to jump-start employment during the Great Depression. You could say it was a successful “stimulus” project for its day and age. The old building is still in great shape thanks to the craftsmanship of those original builders.

There are a lot of distinguished graduates of FHS. Among them are Bill Howell (current Speaker of VA House/FHS ’61) and Christina Hendricks (beautiful star of Mad Men/FHS ’93). Not that those two are ordinarily put together.

The school is much different than in my day. But that’s OK. It’s our hometown high school in Fairfax City.

Still proud to be a Rebel? Hell yeah!

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