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Students: Rename Boulder High as Barack Obama High

Alan Gathright
Rocky Mountain News
Boulder, CO Colorado

BOULDER, Colorado ” A Boulder High student group is pushing to rename the school after a hot new historic figure: Barack Obama High School.

“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 Student Worker Club said in a press release today.

The group’s president, Ben Raderstorf, stressed in the statement that it scheduled a campus press conference to pitch the Obama High plan 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.”



“We are excited to share our motives and rationale for initiating this movement with the greater public. Covering this event will also help dispel the myth of apathetic youth,” he added in his invitation for the news media to attend.

Principal Bud Jenkins doesn’t anticipate a rush to rename Colorado’s oldest established high school, founded in 1875.

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“There’d be a long and laborious process to change the name of the school, other than somebody just thought: ‘Oh, this sounds like a good idea,’ ” he said.

Ultimately, it would take approval by the Boulder Valley School District Board.

The Student Worker members “are certainly enthusiastic about a new president and good for them,” Jenkins said.



“With all due respect to the president,” the principal added, “of all the things in the world that need to be changed, Boulder High School’s name is probably way down the list.

“Why not go out and get involved in working at the homeless shelter or Habitat for Humanity or a thousand other things in the community that … are really going to make an impact on the world,” Jenkins suggested.

A longtime social protest group, Student Worker’s members made headlines in September 2007 by protesting the school’s daily ritual of students voluntarily saying the Pledge of Allegiance when it’s broadcast on the intercom.

Arguing that the pledge’s reference to “one nation, under God” violated the separation of church and state, a dozen members went to the school courtyard and read their own version of the pledge as 100 fellow students watched

“I pledge allegiance to the flag and my constitutional rights with which it comes. And to the diversity, in which our nation stands, one nation, part of one planet, with liberty, freedom, choice and justice for all,” the students declared.

At the time, then-club president Emma Martens e-mailed the Boulder Daily Camera: “Boulder High has a highly diverse population, not all of whom believe in God, or One God.”


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