Thought the 44th president hasn’t yet completed his first 100 days in office, a school board in California, at the request of students, has voted to rename its facility, making it reportedly the first middle school in the country named after Barack Obama.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that several students from Oakland’s Alternative Learning Community public school waited for hours at a meeting of the school board to petition board members for the name change.
The small school of 35 students, which opened in 2007 and enrolls primarily African-American and low-income students, will be known in the future as the Barack Obama Academy.
“To graduate from Barack Obama Academy (BOA) means I am part of history in the making, and I want to be a part of history,” eighth-grader Mikela Mosely said in a statement released by the district earlier this week. “This is an inspiration to me and for many generations to come.”
Many of the students at the newly named Barack Obama Academy, according to the Chronicle, have a history of poor grades, lax attendance and school discipline.
Toni McElroy, the school’s principal, told the newspaper that the middle school offers small classes, supportive counseling, and a focus on community service, environmental issues and civic leadership.
The principal also reported that the success of the student-led drive prompted school-wide celebration the next day.
“These are students that people have written off,” said McElroy. “They were able to see that if you really push and if you really are motivated and consistent that you can make a change.”
Last November, students in Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island also led a drive to have the name of Ludlum Elementary School changed to Barack Obama Elementary, believed to be the first school in the country named after the newly elected president.
Last month, an alternative high school in Plainfield, N.J., became reportedly the first high school in the nation to adopt the president’s name, changing from the Plainfield Academy for Academic & Civic Development to the Barack Obama Academy for Academic & Civic Development.
News reports on the elementary, middle school and high school name changes all indicated the boards voted unanimously following student presentations.
Earlier this month, an elementary school in West Virginia, however, opted to strike the Obama name from its list of three leading candidates for a new name following a proposed bill in the state’s legislature that would forbid naming anything funded with taxpayer dollars after living elected officials.