RICHMOND, Calif. - A Richmond elementary school named after former first lady Michelle Obama will host a festive grand opening on Thursday -- of course, the pomp and circumstance will be held online as the celebration comes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The West Contra Costa Unified School District's 30-minute event will feature presentations from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, the WCCUSD School Board, district Superintendent Matthew Duffy and other community leaders. Michelle Obama School students will also be highlighted during the Virtual Grand Opening.
The new school’s large public plaza, community room, library and flexible learning spaces will be revealed virtually. The Michelle Obama School is located at 629 42nd St. in Richmond, the site of the former Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
This is the first Bay Area school to be named after Michele Obama.
Elementary PTA President Maiesha Cole led the drive to swap "Wilson" for "Obama."
No knock on him, Cole said in an earlier interview, but Michelle Obama is more inspirational to today's students, where three out of four students are Latino or African American.
During eight years in the White House, Obama championed education, fitness and equal opportunity for youth.
The change won unanimous approval in February from the five members of the West Contra Costa Unified School District board.
Across the country, there are dozens of schools named after one or both of the Obamas.
Most are in cities and most are in diverse, underserved communities.
Advocates figured this is the perfect time for a name change because the elementary school has been torn down to make way for a $36 million rebuild.