Could Boulder High Become Obama High?

Student Worker Club Pushing For Name Change

President Barack Obama has only been in office for three weeks, but a student group at Boulder High School wants to change the name of their school to Barack Obama High School.

The group, called Student Worker Club, plans a Thursday afternoon news conference to announce the start of a campaign to change the name of the school. Students say it's a way to commemorate Obama's historic election.

"We just want to find a way to honor the progress that our country has made," said 16-year-old junior Ben Raderstorf, who is leading the effort.

"Boulder High's motto is 'still the first' so it makes sense for us to be the first high school in Colorado to become Barack Obama High School," said junior Meagan Mahaffy.

The 12 student members of Student Worker Club will start a petition drive and gauge the opinions of the community, which appear to be mixed.

"It's hopeful. Barack Obama is a sign of hope for reclaiming America," said Boulder resident Mary Louise Chavers.

"It's a nice sentiment but I think we should give the guy a chance to do something significant first," said Boulder resident Heather Mccollester.

"The reason for the change is not to honor his presidency, like other schools named after presidents in the past, but it's more to honor the fact that we were able to get him elected," Raderstorf said.

The policy on name changes at Boulder Valley School District states, "The renaming of a school shall be considered only when district restructuring creates a new school or in other extraordinary circumstances deemed by the Board of Education."

This means the students will have to make a compelling argument in front of the school board and gain the approval of four out of seven members. But they have hope.

"I think, at this point, it's actually pretty possible, that if enough people get behind it, it could actually happen," Raderstorf said.

The school board and the Boulder Valley's superintendent are aware of the students' efforts and said the students will be taken seriously and will be treated with respect.

"We initiate this campaign in order to honor the momentous achievement of his election as an African-American, inspire the community with his ideals of unity and hope, and reflect the progressive spirit that is shared by both Barack Obama and our school environment," the group stated in a news release.

The group plans to hold a news conference on Thursday "the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth to commemorate both the role he had in making the election of Barack Obama possible and the social progress that has been made since he issued the emancipation proclamation."

If the students are successful, this would not be the first school in the United States to name itself after the 44th president. A Long Island school, formerly Ludlum Elementary School, was renamed Barack Obama Elementary School in November, at the request of students.

Clear Stream Avenue School in Valley Stream, N.Y., also considered renaming itself after Obama and then rejected it. Students at the Clark K-8 At Binnsmead school in Portland, Ore., were also considering a similar renaming.

What do you think about this idea? Is it a fitting honor or is it too early to enshrine the name of someone who has yet to prove himself in the White House? Post your opinions below and read what others have to say.

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