School officials and politicians emphasized the theme of “courage” at John Champe High School’s formal dedication ceremony Oct. 12.
The Aldie school is named after John Champe. Champe, a solder in the Continental Army in the American Revolution, faked his defection to the British Army under orders of George Washington to find and return traitor Benedict Arnold.
“How many of you would be willing – if someone asked you – to denounce your own country . . . and not have anyone know the truth behind what you were doing,” John Champe principal John Gabriel said.
Champe ultimately failed in his mission to find Arnold and escaped the British Army, eventually settling in what is now West Virginia. An account of his actions was never published during his lifetime.
“It’s not that he captured Benedict Arnold or not, it’s the fact that he accepted the mission,” Gabriel said.
Attendees also looked forward to setting new traditions for the school in its first year.
“The opportunity you have because you’re a new school is to be the foundation; the foundation for building tradition, the foundation for building clubs,” School Board member Tom Reed said. “Students, I challenge you to be courageous.”
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