The county’s next elementary school, Elementary School 31 in Ashburn, is now Waxpool Elementary School.
The name was voted on and recommended to the Loudoun County School Board by a naming committee. The board approved the name at its regular meeting Tuesday night.
LCPS teacher Patty Peterson, who served on the naming committee, advocated for the committee’s choice during the public comment portion of the meeting. Peterson said the name Waxpool was relevant for elementary school students, as students of this age learn about local and state history.
The original village of Waxpool, dating back to the 1880s, was sited proximate to the present-day Waxpool Road, Belmont Ridge Road and Beaver Dam Reservoir. Waxpool contained a general store and post office called the S.E. Munday’s General Store, a church, school and several dairy farms. The committee felt the name helps preserve the historical legacy of the area, named for the waxy, hard-to-drain clay soils in the area.
“We were also attempting to honor Loudoun’s history before it’s all lost and paved over with concrete, and we talked about that in our debate. This was one way of preserving Loudoun’s history,” Peterson said.
Prior to voting to name ES-31 Waxpool, the board considered a substitute motion by Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) to name the school Captain James Adamouski Elementary School.
Adamouski, known to friends and family as Jimmy, hailed from Springfield and served in the Army. He was the first Virginian and first West Point graduate to die in the war in Iraq when his Blackhawk helicopter crashed. He was 29 and now rests at Arlington Cemetery.
Adamouski’s friends and sister have petitioned the board to consider his name for ES-31. Although the naming committee did consider Adamouski’s name for the school, it went with Waxpool for its recommendation and Lola Jackson and William H. Ash as its two alternates.
Eric Pavlick, a friend of Adamouski’s, also spoke before the board, saying Adamouski’s name could provide inspiration to the school’s community. Speakers in past meetings have also noted Adamouski’s leadership while serving as his high school’s class president.
Adamouski had been accepted to Harvard Business School before he died and planned to teach economics at West Point. Harvard awarded him his degree posthumously.
“The reality is the names recommended by the school naming committee are good, but as board, the delegation of authority for making decisions rests on our shoulders, and at the end of the day, Capt. James Adamouski is the only person on the list that gave their life for us so that we may exercise the liberty we all sit here and enjoy today,” DeKenipp said.
Though Adamouski was not from Loudoun, DeKenipp said that should not stop the board from considering his name for the school, as LCPS has other schools named for non-Loudoun residents, including Frederick Douglass and victims of the 9/11 attacks.
DeKenipp also became emotional while sharing a letter from retired four-star Gen. Richard Cody advocating for Adamouski’s name for the new elementary school.
“Waxpool is a fine name. The reality is, the school sits on Waxpool Road. Waxpool Village will not soon be forgotten, and we have an opportunity here to truly honor an American hero,” DeKenipp said.
Tom Marshall (Leesburg) supported DeKenipp’s substitute motion, saying he felt LCPS has an aversion to commemorating history, as names after people and local historic figures are often passed over.
“They prefer ridges and bridges, and now prefer roads,” Marshall said. “ ... Every school child doesn’t necessarily need a road, they do need a hero. They need someone to look up to, and I think Capt. James Adamouski fulfills that role for students.”
Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) said she wasn’t originally planning to support the substitute motion, but was moved by the testimony of Adamouski’s loved ones and DeKenipp’s advocacy for the name. She said she respects the naming committee’s work, but could not think of anything more significant than someone who gave their life for their country.
Several board members said they did not support DeKenipp’s substitute motion out of respect for the school naming process. Members of school naming committees serve on a volunteer basis, and some board members said the committee’s decision needs to be respected if the board expects people to want to continue to serve on these committees.
Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said naming committee members spent a lot of time and effort to make the call to submit its name recommendations, and that there will be other opportunities to name a school after Adamouski.
DeKenipp, Marshall and Turgeon were the only to vote in support of Capt. James Adamouski Elementary School. After the failed vote, the board unanimously approved the name Waxpool Elementary.
Waxpool Elementary will open in the fall of 2019.