School History

Holmes Middle School was established in 1966. However, construction of our building was not complete by September, so for the first five months of the school year classes were held on modified-shifts at Poe Middle School. Poe students used the building from 7:30 a.m. to 11:53 a.m., and Holmes students from 12:10 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Our school building officially opened on January 30, 1967, with an enrollment of 781 students. Today we have almost 1,000.   

Do you know why our yearbook is called Old Ironsides?

Stories from Holmes (1966-2018)

Roy T. Bowman, HMS Alumnus (1969-70)

I attended Holmes for 7th and 8th Grade. I can remember all the guys in the industrial arts club in our HO slot cart straight track and our fastest cars for a drag race down the shop hall…Woodrow Robinson was the principal….


Doug Wicklund, HMS Alumnus (1972-73)

I attended Holmes Intermediate (its old name) back in 1972 and 1973. My family had just returned from five years on a small island in the Pacific called Okinawa. My father was in the Navy. I was chosen as Student of the year in 1973, as well as Top Student Government. I also did the AM/PM announcements. Forty years later, my son Jeremiah attended Holmes…


Debbie Schwartz, HMS Alumnus (Mid-70s)

I went to Holmes in the mid-70s. Favorite teacher was Mr. Fletcher. Would love to let him know what an impact his 8th English class [had on me] (I became a writer/editor!)


Dorothy Owen, HMS Alumnus (1980-82)

I attended Holmes Intermediate School from the fall of 1980 to the spring of 1982. As a nervous incoming 7th grader, I was happy Holmes was only one level. Less chance of getting lost as I changed classes! The other thing I knew about Holmes was that it was air conditioned (the Area offices were there) – so no chance of a day off or early dismissal on a super-hot Virginia day. My proudest accomplishment there was getting the Science Award, after spending the whole year thinking the class was hard and the teacher didn’t like me. Receiving the award was a total surprise.


Gary Ritter, Holmes Faculty Member (Since 1996)

Over the years I have been amazed at the numbers of alumni that keep returning to Holmes MS to visit or to come and work here.  Former students are now teachers, or administrators at Holmes, or Annandale or even GMU.  It is wonderful to see our students participating as responsible adults in our local, state and national society.  When I arrived in 1996 I was struck by the diverse student & family population.  The diversity has increased since that time and the IB Middle Years Program gives us a lens to focus our students on why it is necessary to be knowledgeable about the world in which we live.  For us to live together peacefully and have rewarding futures, we need to understand and respect people from other countries and cultures. I believe Holmes Middle School is a place where everyone works every day to gain an education and learn to live with people from all parts of the world.


In 2005, Holmes was given authorization by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to offer the Middle Years Programme (MYP). As outlined by the IBO on their website: “The MYP aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning. The programme empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally, and globally. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers.”

Holmes Middle School became an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Center Certified Site in 1998. As defined by the AVID website: “AVID trains educators to use proven practices in order to prepare students for success in high school, college, and a career. AVID brings research‐based strategies and curriculum to educational institutions in elementary, secondary, and higher education. The AVID System annually provides 60,000+ educators with training and methodologies that develop students’ critical thinking, literacy, and math skills across all content areas schoolwide.”