This Georgia District Is First in State to Name School After President Obama, First in Country for Rep. John Lewis

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President Barack Obama and U.S. Congressman John Lewis honored by the DeKalb County School district.
President Barack Obama and U.S. Congressman John Lewis honored by the DeKalb County School district.

The DeKalb County School district made history Monday night when administrators voted unanimously to name a new elementary school after the nation’s 44th president.

The Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology, set to open in January 2017, is the first public school in Georgia to be named for the current Commander-in-Chief, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“President Obama embodies the values of a strong family, hard work, and education as the means of getting ahead,” Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green told the AJC. “These values are reflected in the DeKalb County School District and are the keys to college and career readiness.”

Dr. Melvin Johnson, chair of the county board of education, said Obama’s public career and commitment to family serve as inspiration to students and staff.

“The name on this school will remind us every day of the importance of these attributes in being good citizens,” Johnson said.

The $23-million school will house up to 900 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade children, with 715 expected to enroll in the dual-language immersion program this fall, per WSB Atlanta.

Students will temporarily meet at a former public school in Atlanta before moving to the permanent campus on Clifton Church Road in Decatur.

Board officials said the school’s name, eagle mascot and official red, white and blue colors were a joint decision by students, teachers and community at large.

President Obama wasn’t the only prominent politician honored by the state’s third-largest school district.

Board of education members also voted to name an elementary school after civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, and the new public institution will be the first in the country to bear his moniker.

“John Lewis is an American icon who has dedicated his life to the highest ethical standards and moral principles,” Superintendent Green told WABE. “Each day, our students, teachers, and staff will be reminded of his leadership and sacrifice and the role public education played in his achievements.”

Construction for the John Robert Lewis Elementary School in Brookhaven will cost an estimated $30 million. The school is projected to have a 2017 enrollment of 394 students, and is expected to relieve an overcrowded high school cluster by taking in students from a nearby elementary school, according to a county media release.

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