Ren­o­vated Orange school to honor late as­tro­naut

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Leslie Postal Staff Writer

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.

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