Board Officially Renames Jefferson, Webster

Board Officially Renames Jefferson, Webster
Posted on 04/14/2021
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The Waukegan Community Unit School District # 60 Board of Education officially voted to rename Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Daniel Webster Middle School during its April 13 Board Meeting. 

Jefferson Middle School was renamed after John R. Lewis, a civil rights icon, who was a member of the “Big Six” at height of the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. Lewis later served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Webster Middle School has been renamed after Edith M. Smith. Mrs. Smith was one of the parents who worked to integrate several schools in Waukegan in the 1960s. She was elected to the Waukegan Township High School District # 119 (one of the school districts that preceded the current Waukegan School District 60) Board of Education. Later, she worked as a paraprofessional and in security in Waukegan Schools until 1997.

“Our Board has chosen to name our schools after two extraordinary individuals who fought for civil rights at both the national and local level. The remarkable contributions of John Lewis and Edith Smith are undeniable, and they are individuals that future generations of Waukegan students can look up to,” said Board of Education President Mr. Brandon Ewing.

The Board votes mark the conclusion of a several month, in-depth renaming process that involved gathering input from staff, students, parents and Waukegan stakeholders. More than 800 nominations were submitted for consideration as part of a process that was designed to be inclusive, and reflect the voices and ideas of the community. 

“This was a special process, and I am proud of the inclusive nature of our decision-making. We understand that there are mixed feeling on these renamings, but we truly believe it was the right thing to do,” Mr. Ewing said. 

The name changes will not impact schools colors or mascot, and will officially take effect July 1, 2021.

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