NY school officially renamed for Obama

February 4, 2009 11:54:08 AM PST
Call it another sign that change has come to America. Officials in Hempstead on Long Island held ceremonies Wednesday officially naming an elementary school after President Barack Obama. School officials believe it's the first in the nation to be renamed for the 44th president.

The idea to change the name of Ludlum Elementary School to honor the Illinois Democrat came from the children, school officials said.

The students wrote essays and held mock debates during the campaign, and paid close attention when Obama and Republican Sen.

John McCain met in the final presidential debate at Hofstra University, about a mile from where their school is located.

"It really sends a message to children that when they get involved they can make a difference," said acting school Superintendent Joseph Laria.

Only weeks after the election, the school board unanimously passed a resolution making the change. The school's enrollment is 62 percent Hispanic and 36 percent black.

When the president was inaugurated last month, all 460 students were given navy blue sweat shirts emblazoned with "Barack Obama Elementary School - Yes We Can" on their chests.

Assemblies were held in the library and school gym, featuring televised images from Washington on huge movie screens.

Emily Philbert, a 9-year-old who dreams of becoming a doctor, says her classmates felt it was important to honor Obama "because now we finally have our first African-American president. Since I'm an African-American girl myself, that's a huge honor."


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