Virginia McCann Barr graduated from Winchester High School, one of the John Handley Foundation Schools, in 1922. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Randolph Macon Women’s College and started her 43 year career with Winchester Public Schools in 1927. She taught History and Latin at Handley until her retirement in 1970.
One of her former students described Miss Barr as “the most civilized, genteel person I ever met. She taught us not only Latin but also the structure of language, English, rhetoric, history, ethics, manners, and the ideal of public service.”
She was a compassionate teacher concerned for her students and shared her deep love of the history of Rome and for Italian culture. She was inspiring and passionate about what she taught.
By the 1960’s her homeroom in the Senior Hall was filled with murals of ancient Rome, replicas of Roman monuments and copies of manuscripts transcribed in Latin that had been prepared by her many students over the years.
She was an enthusiastic faculty sponsor for the Thespian Club and encouraged students to pursue their creative sides in addition to their academic pursuits. She taught Christmas carols in Latin and would have her students sing them during chapel.
Another student stated that she was dignified but self-deprecating and always concerned for the welfare of her students. She was commanding, stern, kind, and a class act in every way. She was certainly one of the finest teachers ever to work in the Winchester Public School System.