What I’m Grateful For: Community “Outcry” That Changed a School’s Name

Fairfax County high-school student Kadija Ismail got more than 1,000 petition signatures in one day.

This article is part of Washingtonian‘s feature “Gratitude.” We asked dozens of notable Washingtonians as well as our readers: What are you most grateful for? Read some of their responses here.

Kadija Ismail

High-school student whose Change.org petition helped compel the Fairfax County School Board to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School to John R. Lewis High School

What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for the outcry of the community, especially during the public hearing that really got the name change recognized. Because 100-and-something people showed up. And the number of people that signed my petition—it was more than 1,000 people in one day.

Is there a way you regularly practice gratitude?

I’m Muslim, so I’ll pray as a form of gratitude. At the same time, I’m actively grateful—I’ll do tasks of cleaning the house and doing an extra chore so my mom doesn’t have to work as hard, just to give back because my parents gave so much to me.

Kristen Hinman
Articles Editor

Kristen Hinman has been editing Washingtonian’s features since 2014. She joined the magazine after editing politics & policy coverage for Bloomberg Businessweek and working as a staff writer for Voice Media Group/Riverfront Times.