The West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously tonight to rename one of its elementary schools after former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Board’s vote makes the school the first in Northern California and the second in the state named after the former first lady.
“Naming this school after Michelle Obama is a sign of the school's rebirth,” Board President Stephanie Hernandez-Jarvis said. “We can see the new physical structure being built, but this name change sets high expectations for the students and staff as they enter a new era for this school and this school community. The parents and students advocated to rename their school after Michelle Obama because they believe the values our former First Lady embodies and the educational, child-centered causes she champions, are representative of what we all aspire to nurture in our school communities. She is a role model for our children and we strive to serve our students with the same kind of love, advocacy, and courage that she served our country.”
The Board considered the proposal after receiving a letter from the Wilson Elementary School PTA requesting the name of the school be changed in honor of the former First Lady. An ad hoc committee held two public meetings to gather input from parents, students and community stakeholders and unanimously voted to recommend the name change at a meeting on January 23.
“We wanted to choose someone on a global level,” Wilson PTA President Maisha Cole said. “With a new school and new learning environment, we want our children to think beyond Richmond, to think beyond California, and remind them that they can make a difference locally and globally.”
The school serves about 430 students in kindergarten through 6th grade and is currently housed on a temporary campus in El Cerrito as its traditional location at 42nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Richmond is being rebuilt into a state-of-the-art 21st century facility. The new school building is expected to open in time for the 2020-21 school year under its new name.
“We have the opportunity to have a beautiful new school named after a person who really represents our diversity and values,” Principal Claudia Velez said. “Our school is diverse, modern and innovative, and the things that the kids will be doing will prepare them for a very strong and successful future in whatever career they choose.”
This was a media release from the WCCUSD.