Renovated Orange school to honor late astronaut
A renovated Orange County elementary school to open in August will be named for astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
The new Sally Ride Elementary School in south Orange will house students who had attended Durrance Elementary School and Cypress Park Elementary School.
Parents, students and staff from both schools suggested names, and Sally Ride was their top choice. The Orange County School Board approved the name last week.
“I love the idea of naming the school Sally Ride Elementary School,” said board member Linda Kobert, whose district includes the school on 11th Avenue in Taft, just before the board voted.
As an astronaut, scientist and teacher, Ride’s name is a fitting one for the new school, which will include the aerospace and aviation magnet program now housed at Durrance, Kobert said.
“I can see no better way to honor this community and this new school then to write that history into the name of the school,” she added.
When Ride flew on the space shuttle Challenger in June 1983, she was not only the first American woman, but also, at 32, the youngest American in space. After her retirement from NASA, Ride served as a physics professor at University of California San Diego, and then started Sally Ride Science, a foundation dedicated to encouraging youngsters, particularly girls, to pursue careers in the field. She died from pancreatic cancer in 2012.
“I think it’s a terrific selection by that community,” said Chairman Bill Sublette about the name. “What a great role model she is for all students, boys and girls.”
Two other elementary schools — one in California and one in Maryland — are also named for Ride, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Orange’s Sally Ride school is being built on Cypress Park’s campus, where some buildings have been demolished, others renovated and new classrooms, media center and cafeteria constructed. The nearly $22 million project, which includes updated technology, is to be ready for students at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.