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Long Island

Signs go up at LI school renamed for Obama

Hundreds of students, teachers, politicians and community leaders stood in the snow to watch the unveiling of a blue and gold sign proclaiming a Hempstead elementary school is now named after President Barack Obama.

Hours of speeches, songs and dance preceded the moment, as part of a ceremony to rename Ludlum Elementary School.

Barack Obama Elementary School is the first school in the nation named after the country's first black president.

- Click here to see photos of the Barack Obama school's new sign, and go inside the school

The Hempstead school board voted unanimously on the name change in November and the school held an inauguration event last month, but no sign marked its new name until Wednesday.

"Now that the sign is up we are now officially stars in the sky," said fifth-grader Esta Thomas. "We are leaders today."

The 460-student school's enrollment is 62 percent Hispanic and 36 percent African-American. Several students come from Africa, and many more come from El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador and Puerto Rico.

The school, built in 1928, was previously named for the late Dr. Charles Ludlum, a longtime school board president.

The name-change idea began to jell after a fifth-grade teacher asked students Jalani Johnson and Samantha Alburez, both 10, to write essays on why their school should be named for Obama.

"This beautiful new sign is the final element of this wonderful transition," Principal Jean Bligen said before the ceremony. "It will express our pride and excitement to all who see it."

- Click here to see photos of the Barack Obama school's new sign, and go inside the school

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