The County Chronicle

The online newspaper for Loudoun County High School

The County Chronicle

The County Chronicle

Anticipation builds for Platinum Jubilee ahead of County’s 70th anniversary

This 2023-2024 school year marks 70 years since the opening of LCHS and the school community is beginning to prepare for the biggest celebration to date. 

County is the oldest high school in Loudoun, and with this remarkable feat of being open and functioning for so many decades, principal Dr. Michelle Luttrell, along with members of the staff and student body, have begun to arrange tours of the school, student performances, outdoor activities with special guests, and many other events to unite our community and celebrate our school’s history. 

The idea to call the celebration the Platinum Jubilee was crowned by Dr. Luttrell, as a little dedication to the Queen, after her 70th year of reign was also named her Platinum Jubilee. “Another nod to the Queen might be in a formal tea held in celebration as well,” Luttrell said.

The celebration planning has mainly been spanned out into the next school year, with a grand welcoming of the 2024 student class in September, a student-focused parade downtown during homecoming season, tailgating for football games, marching captains performances, and many other events in the works. 

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“Once the schedule is set and everything is finalized, we’ll start promoting and that will probably start when we get back from winter break. We’re looking at a kickoff in April.” Luttrell said.

September 14th, 2024 marks the exact 70-year mark of County’s operation, as it was originally opened on that day in 1954. Of course in 70 years so many aspects of a school community can change, and for County, those changes are especially important to the community we have now. 

“The physical things that you can see, like the renovations, those are very visible changes, and when alumni that come back they notice that immediately,” Luttrell said. “What you can also see and what you can more importantly feel, is the culture of the school. I think this is an incredibly positive school community.” 

County opened during the segregation of the 1950s but over the decades has become extremely diverse and inclusive.

“I think we have a very accepting group of students in terms of being inclusive and celebrating the uniqueness of one another; that’s something that our students do really well,” Luttrell said.

Another extremely important part of County’s history is its staff and teachers who make a difference in students’ lives. One staff member who has been here for many decades is current vice principal Mark Patterson. He has worked at County for a total of 29 years and has also aided in opening another LCPS school, Briar Woods High School. He has been a part of many different aspects of running the school from being a social studies teacher, SCA administrator sponsor, the Senior class sponsor, and currently vice principal. 

“When I began, Loudoun County only had four high schools and now there are 20. I really believe that Loudoun County schools are some of the best to be found anywhere, and we have been able to keep this dynamic despite the incredible growth in population.” Patterson said.

What is most noticeable about the growth of the school is the very visible physical changes over these past decades.

“When I started here, the library was where rooms 229 to 235 are now, the current library was the aux[illary] gym and my classroom was where the sky bridge now connects to the 200s hall. Also, the NJROTC annex was a maintenance garage for the county,” Patterson said.

However, social changes have not gone unnoticed. Even with the creation of so many other local high schools, County does seem to have more of a noticeable local high school feel. 

“Despite all the changes, kids are still kids. I say kids, but high school is where we get to see them grow into young men and women. They’re funny, full of energy, and loaded with ideas. That hasn’t changed over the last 30 years,” Patterson said.

One part of the school community that has not changed though, is the clear dedication of teachers to their students and that has been noticed by all parties involved in the evolution of the school. “Teaching is a very demanding profession, and keeping a dedicated and talented teaching force has been no small accomplishment,” Patterson said. “Actually, not just teachers, but all of the remarkable staff that keep our schools focused on providing the best environment for learning. This really hasn’t changed in my 29 years.”

“That’s something that I’ve seen in my 10 years, just the quality of teaching and how connected the adults are trying to be with the kids,” Luttrell said.

The anticipation has officially begun to see what staff and students have in store to celebrate County’s history; they couldn’t be more excited about the celebration and for the future of County as well. 

“We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate. 70 years, not many school communities can say that they’ve celebrated 70 years and that they keep getting better.” Luttrell said, “We just keep getting better as a school community, so I’m really excited for it.”

“Just as I hope for everyone, I hope they can live in a peaceful and just world. I hope they help in the cause of social justice and environmental reclamation. I truly hope that education can make the connections for student to be able to live their best lives.” Patterson said.

Students on County’s front lawn lined up to spell LCHS in 1956 (Photo Courtesy of Dr. Michelle Luttrell)

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About the Contributor
Brianna Martinez, staff writer
Brianna Martinez is in her senior year at County. This is her second year on the newspaper staff and she plans to major in Journalism in college.

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