NEW YORK – At the behest of its students, an elementary school near New York City has been renamed after President-elect Barack Obama.
The Hempstead Union Free School District board voted unanimously Thursday night to rename Ludlum Elementary School as Barack Obama Elementary School. The change went into effect immediately, school officials said Friday.
Officials for the Long Island district say they think the school is the country's first to be named after the first black president-elect, although similar efforts to rename schools, parks and streets are under way elsewhere.
The Clear Stream Avenue School in Valley Stream, N.Y., also on Long Island, will consider a renaming resolution in December. Students at the Clark K-8 At Binnsmead school in Portland, Ore., are seeking to rename it after Obama. And the prime minister of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has said he wants its Boggy Peak renamed Mount Obama.
Most of the 466 Hempstead pupils are black or Hispanic, and Obama's election was a big source of pride, principal Jean Bligen said Friday.
Some of the children read essays about Obama and the election at the school board meeting on Thursday night. "That really was effective," Bligen said.
The change will be formalized at a ceremony in December. School officials hope Gov. David Paterson, the state's first black governor and Hempstead High School graduate, will attend.
Built in the 1920s, the Ludlum Elementary School was named after Dr. Charles Ludlum, a local physician who served on the school board for about 40 years.