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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Middle School opened on September 1, 1960, and was one of the very first intermediate schools opened by Fairfax County Public Schools. In 1958, the Fairfax County School Board voted to reorganize the public school system and establish the county’s first intermediate schools. Traditionally, students in grades 1-7 attended elementary schools, and students in grades 8-12 attended high schools. Intermediate schools were created to ease the transition from elementary school to high school, and provide students with a specialized program of study geared to the specific needs of their age group. A pilot program began in the fall of 1958 and proved so successful that Fairfax County Public Schools administrators embarked on an ambitious plan to open eight more intermediate schools during the 1960-61 school year. Early in the intermediate school planning process, it was decided that each school would be named for a famous author or poet. Our school was officially named Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Intermediate School by the School Board in May 1959, and Warren J. Pace was hired as our first principal. In the 1990s, all intermediate schools in Fairfax County were renamed as middle schools.
Longfellow Middle School has three core themes that have persisted throughout our entire history: academics, arts, and giving back to the community. Our student council, school newspaper, science club, art club, drama club, glee club, and band were all founded when Longfellow opened in 1960.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is known for his characteristic long beard. Do you know what tragic event inspired Longfellow’s trademark look?