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Barack Obama Elementary School, First School To Adopt New President's Name

02/ 4/09 04:44 PM ET   AP

Obama School

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Students got their wish Wednesday as their school was officially renamed Barack Obama Elementary School.

School officials believe it's the first in the nation to be renamed for the 44th president, and they said the idea to change the name of Ludlum Elementary School came from the children themselves.

The students wrote essays and held mock debates during the campaign, and paid close attention when Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain met in their final presidential debate at Hofstra University, about a mile from their school on Long Island.

"It really sends a message to children that when they get involved they can make a difference," said acting school Superintendent Joseph Laria.

Just weeks after the election, the school board unanimously passed a resolution making the change, and when the president was inaugurated last month all 460 students were given navy blue sweatshirts emblazoned with "Barack Obama Elementary School _ Yes We Can."

The school's enrollment is 62 percent Hispanic and 36 percent black.

Nine-year-old Emily Philbert, who dreams of becoming a doctor, says her classmates felt it was important to honor Obama "because now we finally have our first African-American president. Since I'm an African-American girl myself, that's a huge honor."

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Filed by Stuart Whatley  |