ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — A “memorial service” mourning the loss of Thomas Jefferson High School was held on Oct. 18.

The memorial comes after the decision from Fairfax County Public Schools to eliminate certain admissions requirements to the high school.  

In an effort to attract more diverse students to the program, the school has eliminated an admissions test, application fee, and will now operate on a lottery-based system.  

“We have a school board that is undermining the number one high school in the United States and replacing its’ admissions system with a lottery, which is just not how things work in this country,” said Glenn Miller, a parent at Thomas Jefferson High School.

Parents and students gathered in front of the school to mourn “the loss of merit” and the “American Dream” at the elite magnet school.    

“There’s nothing free in this country, you have to put in your effort, you have to put in your work, and you have to earn your spot in the society,” said Yuyan Zhou, a Thomas Jefferson parent. “Not because of a lottery. Not because of luck. And that’s why we’re here.” 

While the admissions changes were put in place to promote diversity, many parents at the rally believe that the new policies will have the opposite affect.