School values of community and inclusivity prevail through generations


Vintage picture of Drake High Latin Club outside the office building (1985).

Founded in 1951, Archie Williams High School (AWHS), formerly known as Sir Francis Drake High School, is known for its community values and its reputation as an inclusive school. With recent changes to the school’s name and constant shifts through generations of  students and staff, AWHS holds on to its sense of community with the evolving environment. 

AWHS alumni Allison Riley (class of 2010) believes that inclusivity is unique to AWHS, and something that not all students can experience at high schools in Marin County.

Old photos of AWHS campus. Overlooking old office building, pool and baseball field.

“Drake was always a more open and inclusive school, the friend groups were kinda permeable, we all had friends in different groups, and for the most part it was a really accepting place,” Riley said.

Over the past year, AWHS experienced a tumultuous name change process and shifted to and from online and in-person school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Assistant Principal Nate Severin has worked at AWHS since 2015, beginning as Athletic Director. During his experience, he has witnessed many opportunities for growth and hopes that AWHS can hold onto it’s community values moving forward. 

“We’re all growing, we’re all learning, we’re all trying to figure things out but the more that we can create spaces for conversation in a safe way, the more perspectives we can hear,” Severin said. 

AWHS Chemistry, Living Earth, and Physics in the Universe teacher, Michael (Doc) Wing, has taught at AWHS since 1998. Being a member of the AWHS community for over 20 years, Wing has taught generations of Pirates and Falcons, and is able to observ

Four Drake students pose for a photo after being elected as honor crew officers in the 4th corridor.

e the distinctive differences in the student body. Throughout the years, Wing believes AWHS has maintained its sense


“Everyone at this school treats each other really well, people are nice to each other and I really appreciate that. Students seem to be pretty nice to each other compared to other schools I’ve seen, and they’re always really nice to me. I love that,” Wing said.

Wing believes that AWHS students have always been capable of achieving desirable objectives, but has noticed that over time students have seemed to become less confident in themselves. He feels that in his earlier years of teaching, students expressed more defiance and attitude that he hasn’t seen as much in recent years.

“I would say that over the time students’ abilities have stayed roughly constant or maybe even gotten a little better but students’ degree of confidence in themselves and optimism about the world has not improved,” Wing said. 

Past principal of nine years, Liz Seabury, says that as she transitioned to AWHS in 2012 from Del Mar High School in San Jose, she noticed how the atmosphere at AWHS was different from that of many other schools. 

“Archie has some of the old Marin funky, hippie, liberal, vibeness to it… That is something that I definitely felt when I first got there and I think is still very true today,” Seabury said.

Throughout the years, the AWHS community has always been known for its strong community value and sense of inclusivity. As AWHS continues to evolve, many hope the well-known community environment will carry over.