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Good Idea To Name Schools After Obama?

From Long Island’s verklempt Newsday:

LI school renamed for Barack Obama


Like Barack Obama’s campaign, the plan to rename a Hempstead school after the president-elect was “a remarkable grassroots approach,” the district superintendent said Friday.

At a meeting Thursday night, the five-member Hempstead school board voted unanimously to rename one of its schools Barack Obama Elementary School, said Superintendent Joseph Laria.

The change was effective immediately, although the district does not have a new sign yet. The school, formerly called Ludlum Elementary School, is on William Street in Hempstead.

School staff and students, who participated in mock presidential and vice presidential debates before the Nov. 4 election, initiated the request to rename the school, Laria said.

The move could herald a name wave — schools, streets, parks, people — following Obama’s historic rise to the presidency.

The five-member board passed the resolution unanimously: “Whereas … the students did a wonderful job of carrying out their tasks and demonstrating their patriotism at an early age …now be it resolved that the (board members) proudly rename the Ludlum Elementary School as the Barack Obama Elementary School.”

The new name will appear on a sign in front of the building and on stationery, “hopefully before Christmas,” at a cost of several thousand dollars to the district, Laria said.

The change will be formalized at a ceremony sometime in December. School officials are hoping Gov. David Paterson can attend. The state’s first black governor graduated from Hempstead High School.

The prime minister of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has said he’s taking measures to have Boggy Peak renamed Mount Obama. In Portland, Ore., students want to rename Clark K-8 At Binnsmead school. Elsewhere on Long Island, the Clear Stream Avenue School in Valley Stream will consider a renaming resolution in December. And parents already have been naming newborns Barack.

In Opa-locka, Florida, the city council is considering naming a street after Obama, as well, the Miami Herald reports.

Oh yes, Mr. Obama’s “historic” rise to the Presidency.

One might even call it miraculous, since it has never done anything to deserve such an honor.

But all that aside, is this even a good idea for the school?

Precedence says no.

Back in July we posted this parable from the UK’s Evening Standard:

Barack Obama’s broken promise to African village

David Cohen, Evening Standard

It is an extraordinary sight to walk into a basic two-room house under a mango tree in rural east Africa and discover what is essentially a shrine to Barack Obama.

The small brick house with no running water, a tin roof and roving chickens, goats and cows is owned by Sarah Obama, Barack’s 86-year-old step-grandmother. Inside, the walls are decorated with a 2008 Obama election sticker, an old “Barack Obama for Senate” poster on which he has written “Mama Sarah Habai [how are you?]“, a 2005 calendar that says “The Kenyan Wonder Boy in the US”, and more than a dozen family photos.

But this bucolic scene in his father’s village of Kogelo near the Equator in western Kenya conceals a troubling reality that, until now, has never been spoken about. Barack Obama, the Evening Standard can reveal, after we went to the village earlier this month, has failed to honour the pledges of assistance that he made to a school named in his honour when he visited here amid great fanfare two years ago.

At that historic homecoming in August 2006 Obama was greeted as a hero with thousands lining the dirt streets of Kogelo. He visited the Senator Obama Kogelo Secondary School built on land donated by his paternal grandfather. After addressing the pupils, a third of whom are orphans, and dancing with them as they sang songs in his honour, he was shown a school with four dilapidated classrooms that lacked even basic resources such as water, sanitation and electricity.

He told the assembled press, local politicians (who included current Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga), and students: “Hopefully I can provide some assistance in the future to this school and all that it can be.” He then turned to the school’s principal, Yuanita Obiero, and assured her and her teachers: “I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school and I will do so.”

Obiero says that although Obama did not explicitly use the word “financial” to qualify the nature of the assistance he was offering, “there was no doubt among us [teachers] that is what he meant. We interpreted his words as meaning he would help fund the school, either personally or by raising sponsors or both, in order to give our school desperately-needed modern facilities and a facelift”. She added that 10 of the school’s 144 pupils are Obama’s relatives. Obiero was not the only one to think that the US Senator from Illinois, who had recently acquired a $1.65 million house in Chicago, would cough up. Obama’s own grandmother Sarah confidently told reporters before his visit: “When he comes down here, he will change the face of the school and, believe me, our poverty in Kogelo will be a thing of the past.”

But the Evening Standard has heard that the promises he made to help the school as well as a local orphanage appear to have been empty

Principal Obiero, 48, tells us: “Senator Obama has not honoured the promises he gave me when we met in 2006 and in his earlier letter to the school. He has not given us even one shilling. But we still have hope.”

The letter Obiero refers to – dated 22 June 2005, signed by Obama and addressed to her – was written after his election to the US Senate in 2004 and hangs, framed, on the wall of her spartan office alongside photographs of Obama’s visit to their school. It says: “I am honoured that you have decided to rename the Kogelo School in my name.

The land that the school is built on was donated by my grandparents and I am proud to carry on the tradition of supporting the school.”

Obiero and her board of governors followed up his letter offering ” support” with a bald, formal request for funds in the form of a nine-page proposal, a copy of which has been provided to the Evening Standard, laying out their ambitions for the school. In it they ask for 8.2 million Kenyan shillings (approximately £65,000) to upgrade the school. The money would be used, they say, to bring water to the school by sinking a borehole and building a water tank, erect a perimeter fence, complete the science laboratory and add much needed new classrooms, additional latrines, and a school dining hall.

Obiero recalls: “When the US Ambassador William Bellamy came to visit the school for the official renaming ceremony in February 2006, we gave him two copies of the proposal, one for the Embassy and one to give to Senator Obama. But we have not heard anything from either of them since.”

Recently, she adds, she gave another copy of the proposal to Obama’s Kenyan half-sister, Auma Obama, who recently returned to Nairobi after living in England and working in children’s services in Reading. Auma had been married to a British man but they are now divorced. “Auma also promised to pass it on to her brother,” says Obiero…

During Obama’s visit to the school, he opened their half-finished science laboratory (built with £4,900 raised by the community) and wrote in the visitor’s book: “Congratulations on the new laboratory!” Today, the lab has been mothballed because they ran out of funds to equip it and because, critically, there is no running water. “We must pay the man with the donkey to fetch us water from the river four kilometres away,” says Obiero. The situation in the school mirrors that of Kogelo village where the people live without water, electricity or access to proper healthcare and on average incomes of less than $1 a day. Yet they remain diehard fans of the man who has put their rural community on the map and have even renamed the beer, called Senator, in his honour: locals now order “an Obama”…

Obama had visited Kogelo for the first time in the 1980s after attending Columbia University and then again in 1991 to research his memoirs after graduating from Harvard Law School. He would later become a civil rights lawyer and community organiser before going into politics and serving in the Illinois Senate in 1997 and then the US Senate in 2004.

On those two voyages of personal discovery to Kogelo, he learned that his grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, who lived to 105 according to his gravestone (1870-1975), had been a respected elder and witchdoctor

Gladys Anyango, 60, does an impromptu Obama impression to the amusement of her fellow peddlers. She places her hands on her hips, gazes into the middle distance and, mimicking his deep voice, says: “How are you, people of Kogelo?” Her friends collapse with laughter. She also takes off Obama’s wife, Michelle, who had accompanied him on his visit along with his two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

“Oh, but there will be a big party here when Obama wins,” she adds. “We still have hope that he will bring electricity and build schools so the children have a good education. Maybe when he’s President of America, he’ll remember his roots and look after his community in Kenya.”

(Click photos to enlarge.)

We can look forward to much of the same.

Though, of course, if he fulfills all of his “promises” things might be even worse.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 21st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Good Idea To Name Schools After Obama?”

  1. pinandpuller says:

    Hempsted is a much better name for a school honoring Obama.

  2. BillK says:

    Of course note Obama has been sending and will continue to send his kids to a private school:


  3. imnewatthis says:

    I grew up on Long Island. Back then, Hempstead seemed to be primarily African-American. Perhaps that is still the case and that is why the school apparently felt so inspired by the election that they’re renaming the school. However, it seems a bit premature. They ought to at least wait and see if he’s a halfway decent president.
    Re the school in Kenya, gee, what a surprise. He’ll probably find some public funds to support it now. They didn’t expect him to use his own money, did they? I wonder why his former church (TUCC) didn’t sponsor the school -it reportedly is a large church with active members, some of whom are successful.
    Notice the school principal thinks “poverty in Kogelo will be a thing of the past” – they don’t just want a donation, they expect ongoing support for the whole town.

  4. Anonymoose says:

    I agree they should wait until he’s at least been in office for a bit. It’ll make chiseling his glorious achievements in marble cheaper and more environmentally friendly. They’ll also have plenty of photo opportunities from which to take inspiration for the solid good six foot statue of him in the courtyard, and let’s not forget the painted mural on the wall…..

  5. hister says:


  6. Liberals Demise says:

    HELL YA, Like we can afford African welfare. Our school system is rife with failure and they want to hang the obamy moniker on it too? As if this is going to make Alfonso want to excel to be more than a pimp or Crip / Blood. This BOZO has accomplished what? NOTHING…..NOTHING AT ALL!!! The Anti Christ is among us. BTW…this is alittle off course but I heard that they have finally picked a family dog.
    The girls chose Michele because she has her shots, is almost paper trained and no longer chases cars!

  7. Chinnubie says:

    He can’t even help out his brother living in a hut or his aunt who is already in the U.S. He threw her under the bus faster than a speeding bullet and I’d bet the brother knows all too well he wouldn’t get any assistance from his now famous dead-beat half-brother BHO. What makes those people in Africa think for a milli-second that BHO will help them in any way shape or form even though he has 10 relatives attending the school. BHO is in it for BHO the only reason he went over to Africa was for the publicity & to get pictures to show how caring he is; Oh look BHO is gonna help out his family and their village school isn’t that just wonderful, and I’ll bet the whole time he was there he bitched about the food, the heat, and any other uncomfortable thing he could whine about but when he showed up to the school I’m sure he was all SMILES for the cameras. This guy is a #1 PHONY.

  8. BigOil says:

    The new name will appear on a sign in front of the building and on stationery, “hopefully before Christmas,” at a cost of several thousand dollars to the district, Laria said.

    They could save money on the sign by simply naming the school “BO Elementary”.

  9. 1sttofight says:

    Wonder why they didn’t change the name to “Barack Hussein Obama Elementary School”?

    Are they ashamed of his middle name like he is?

  10. GuppyNblue says:

    He hasn’t even taken office and his few senate years are just a history of a politician promoting himself. Even if you look at from the “history making” view, shouldn’t we first wait to see if he will be worthy of anything. He could turn out to be a disaster for the entire nation but these idiots will have his name on their school. Maybe it’s a propaganda thing. Young minds will believe the man has to be great if we named our school after him. After all, that’s what it has meant in the past.

    Whatever their (lack of) reasoning for doing this, his supporters scare the sh*t out of me. Millions of blind followers in love with who is and care not about what he does.

  11. Liberals Demise says:

    Robert and John Kennedy had to die before a school even CONSIDERED using their names. If you think I’m pissed….I am! This boob hasn’t done a GD thing and the sheeple are naming their chillens after the “DONE NUTTIN” man! God……this speaks volumes as to the mental midgets capacity to form singular thoughts and walk at the same time. DUH…….

  12. GuppyNblue says:

    The Kenyan school should be more patient. Obama never intended to pay for anything personally. He needs to take office first so he can make American taxpayers pay for it. I’m sure he will freely wright many checks on our account.

  13. Professor_Repulso says:

    Why wait? He will be at least the American equivalent of Patrice Lumumba. Or perhaps Robert Mugabe.

  14. Liberals Demise says:

    Or say……Edi Amin?

  15. sheehanjihad says:

    I just re named my dog “Obama”. It was an easy choice….the dog doesnt listen, has it’s own agenda, wants a free ride, craps on my carpet, doesnt do a damn thing but cost me lots of money with nothing in return, and expects me to take care of it in spite of wrecking everything I own. Yeah, that’s a no brainer there. I just wish Washington had a pound we could send politicians to….

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