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RPS Celebrates Official Dedication of Barack Obama Elementary School

On Friday, Richmond Public Schools celebrated the official dedication of Barack Obama Elementary School with special guest, John B. King Jr., 10th US Secretary of Education for President Barack Obama. 

“I am so pleased to join Richmond students, educators, families, and community members in celebrating the renaming of this school, in honor of America’s first Black president,” said Secretary King. “Having served in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, it is a special privilege to be part of the celebration. Representation matters, and I am so encouraged that students of color will be able to see themselves and their potential for greatness reflected whenever they tell people where they attend school in Richmond.”

Formerly named after a confederate general, the Richmond City School Board approved changing the name of the school from J.E.B Stuart Elementary to Barack Obama Elementary School, honoring the 44th President of the United States of America.

“For our kids, every school day should present an opportunity to be empowered and enlightened,” said Mayor Stoney. “How can we expect our children to learn and feel loved when the name on their school reflects values that invalidate their very personhood? The new name - Barack Obama Elementary School - reflects the potential for excellence found in each and every RPS classroom.”

Friday’s celebration kicked-off with a reading of Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes for kindergarten, first, and second-grade students. Joined by Mayor Levar Stoney and RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras, Secretary King visited classrooms and surprised students with their own copies of the book to commemorate the day.

“This is truly a special day, not just for RPS, but for the City of Richmond,” said Superintendent Jason Kamras. “In the former capital of the Confederacy, we are now honoring a leader who represents hope and promise. Our students recommended Barack Obama as one of their top choices for the new name of their school because that same hope and promise lives in each one of them. I am proud that we are honoring the legacy of President Obama but I am even prouder that we are honoring our students.”

The day culminated with a dedication ceremony featuring the keynote address from Secretary King, special performances by the Barack Obama Celebration Choir, and remarks from Mayor Stoney, Superintendent Kamras and Richmond City School Board Chair, Ms. Linda Owen.