A School Without a Name Has a Lot to Say 


Jamie Cole, Contributor

This past summer, the Tamalpais Union High School District officials made the bold and progressive decision to change the name of Drake High School. In accordance with its address, 1327, they have temporarily changed their name to High School 1327. The school believes the change is necessary to better represent the values they strive to uphold. =

“I think a big thing is just feeling comfortable and welcome on campus,” says Highschool 1327 junior Samantha Parr. “Everyone should feel like they are a part of a community.”

High School 1327 posted at the time of the name change, publicizing the switch to its 1,416 followers. Parr made her voice heard on the school’s social media, making encouraging and informative replies on a handful of comments. Unfortunately, her optimistic attitude was one of the few in the comment section. 

The comments show that the most prevalent issues are around costs. A whopping $430,000 budget will be needed to cover costs for signage and marketing, facility logos, athletic uniforms, school spirit items, and legacy development. A disheartening amount of commenters voice their outrage at the change, calling it a waste of money, and a rash result of the BLM movement. Social media has always found a way of accumulating negative voices on controversial topics, however their arguments have some viability. 

The name High School 1327 is certainly laughable.

A lot of money is required for this change. 

The change did occur during the heat of the BLM movement. 

But none of these reasons invalidate the intent behind the cause. The name change discussion began years before BLM, money will not be taken from tax payer dollars, and of course, High School 1327 is a temporary name. What is permanent is the significance this change symbolizes. By taking the crucial step forward in the movement, 1327 has taken control of their history and who they choose to honor. 

As I was drafting this article, my dad, Perry Cole, made the argument that erasing Drake from the walls of the school was essentially sanitizing history. 

“To change the historic name of Sir Francis Drake High school to some other name is like sanitizing history and it’s ridiculous to do,” Cole says, “You’re eliminating history by sanitizing it. It’s better to go and research it and investigate it and use it as a learning process rather than a political process.”

As an alumnus of 1327, Cole insisted that though Sir Francis Drake made bad choices in his youth, he sought redemption before death. And parents are always right, right? In this case, yes. And, just like Sir Francis Drake, High School 1327 deserves a chance to better themselves. There are too many underappreciated historical figures to waste naming a school after a morally gray character like Drake. 

The time of Drake High School, along with Sir Francis Drake, will not be forgotten. I talked with High School 1327 Vic Principal Chad Stuart who assured me that, “We would probably create some sort of museum with all of our artifacts…not try to wash it all away and act like it has never happened.”

This creates a balance in which Sir Francis Drake is not erased from 1327’s history, and the school is able to move on. He will be remembered, flaws and all, in the most accurate way possible. In fact, including Drake in 1327’s history is the most important part of this change. Drake encapsulates a distinct period of time in the school, the seed from which the name change sprouted. By remembering this, High School 1327 will be able to reflect on the importance of the progressive nature they’ve adopted. 

Although being considerate and understanding are values that High School 1327 preaches, many of its students and alumni ignore the discomfort the school’s history connects with. Cost should not overshadow the social correctness this effort is attempting to create. The name change has opened conversations that wouldn’t have happened without it. In the end, the name Sir Francis Drake has been scrubbed from the school’s walls, and its history will live on as a reminder that the past defines only those unwilling to change the future.