/  10.12.2020


Michelle Obama has long emphasized the importance of schooling and higher education, so it’s fitting that another school may possibly be named after her.

The former first lady already has schools named after her in Panorama City, California; Park Forest, Illinois and one named after her and her husband Barack in Atlanta, Georgia, but now the Clayton County Board of Education wants to designate Atlanta’s South Clayton Elementary School in her honor.

Last week, members of the board voted to call the school the Michelle Obama STEM Elementary School, per CNN.

The other option was to memorialize civil rights activist John Lewis, who represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District before he died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year, but only two of nine people were in favor.

“He is a true hero of the civil rights movement, and it would have been so fitting at this time,” said board member Judy Johnson who voted for Lewis. “But we had many, many votes for Michelle Obama. It is very fitting to have a school named after her here.”

School board member Ophelia Burroughs added that designating a school after Obama is a progressive move that promotes inclusivity. “I just felt like there aren’t many places named after women,” she told CNN. “We are trying to push forward in our society because we have been left behind for so long.”

The county will now wait for the former first lady’s approval to name the school in her honor. In the event that she says no, board members may then move forward with naming the school after Lewis.

“If Michelle Obama says no, then you have John Lewis as a backup,” Burroughs said.

The South Clayton Elementary School is currently under construction, but expected to open next July in the city of Jonesboro. 

Obama, a Princeton University graduate, has long championed higher education. During her tenure as first lady, she launched the Reach Higher Initiative which continues to encourage students to pursue education after high school.

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