By Allie Yumol
Silas High School student and emcee of name change celebration
July 1, 2021, marked a significant day in which change brought our community together. The Former Woodrow Wilson High School was changed to Dr. Dolores Silas High School, or as its students like to call it “SIHI.” As a student of Wilson High School, this name change was a significant shift for me and many of my peers. Many argued that the name change was unnecessary. But this was due to lack of knowledge of who we represented by being named after late president Woodrow Wilson.
While conducting research about Woodrow Wilson, I discovered that he worked to erase the progression of African Americans in society. As I learned more about his actions towards people of color, I understood why the name change was necessary. Silas High School is a diverse school including students from all backgrounds. Using the name of a president who sought to exclude and segregate African Americans was ill-fitting. So, by initiating this name change, we brought recognition to a woman in our community who was a local voice for racial equity and justice.
Dr. Silas was the first black woman to serve as an administrator in Tacoma Public Schools. In 1991 she also became the first black woman to serve on the Tacoma City Council. In addition, she also served as president of the Tacoma Chapter of the NAACP. When I met Dr. Silas, she explained “I didn't do it for glory but because it was the right thing to do.” This impacted me because she paved a path that provided me—as a young woman of color—and many of my peers to follow and fight for.
My peers and I are so honored to be part of this piece of history and so eager to see what we can accomplish with our new Silas name.
About Tacoma Schools
Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...