ABC News' Matt Jaffe Reports:
A New York elementary school has been re-named in honor of President-elect Barack Obama. Ludlum Elementary School in Long Island's Hempstead Union Free School District was re-named at a board meeting Thursday, at the request of numerous school students.
"Just to watch these kids after the board voted on what they asked them to do, they were so elated," school district superintendent Dr. Joseph Laria told ABC News. "You want to talk about "Yes we can!"? That was a lesson in democracy."
Effective immediately, Ludlum will now be known as Barack Obama Elementary School, following a decision by the board to adopt the resolution drafted by students and staff.
Before this month's election, the 5th grade class had a mock presidential debate at the school, which sits near Hofstra University, site of the third and final presidential debate between Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
"The kids were really into it," Laria said. "They had this fabulous debate…it was just outstanding."
"The children received such a response from the community and the parents that they were so energized that they said that if Obama becomes president, we would be so proud to have our school named after him, especially because this is an African-American and Latino community that celebrates diversity," said Laria.
Most of the school's students are African-American or Latino, the superintendent stated.
So on Thursday night the kids came before the board to read essays describing what they had learned from the mock debate experience and appealing for the school to be re-named.
Their resolution read as follows:
"Whereas the Ludlum School students conducted a mock presidential debate related to the recent presidential elections and whereas the students did a wonderful job of carrying out their tasks and demonstrating their patriotism at an early age and whereas in recognition of their efforts and the victorious feat of Sen. Barack Obama in becoming the first African-American president of the United States, it be resolved that the Hempstead Board of Education proudly renames Ludlum Elementary School as the Barack Obama Elementary School."
The board then adopted the resolution by a vote of 5-0, re-naming the school immediately.
"People in the audience just stood up and applauded," said Laria. "It was very well received...very poignant."
The school is now planning a re-dedication ceremony following Obama's inauguration in January, complete with the unveiling of a new sign.
And of course, the nation's 44th president is invited, Laria said, as is New York Governor David Paterson, who once attended Hempstead High School in the same school district.
So is the school receiving any criticism from anyone opposing the name change?
"As of this moment, no," noted Laria, emphasizing that the re-naming stemmed from the wishes of the students.
"The lesson in civics and democracy that these kids learned and even the process of coming before a public body and making a presentation, it was all child-oriented and that's what touched me," said an "enormously proud" Laria. "It wasn’t some board member for political reasons grand-standing."
However, the name change might take a little while to sink in with some employees. When answering the phone today, a school official still said "Ludlum"...