Murray Elementary’s “Legacy Wall” honors an educator following name review
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Albemarle County community is celebrating a new addition at Murray Elementary School that honors its history after a long name review process.
Every school in Albemarle that is named after a person has to go through this process to determine whether the namesake of the school aligns with the school’s mission.
After the process, it was decided that Murray Elementary, named after Virginia Murray, would keep its name. Murray was a Black educator and pioneer when it came to working towards education equity in the mid-twentieth century.
The new installation is a “legacy wall” that celebrates the life and history of Murray
“It really shows students the really cool history of our school. I think of how much work it took to put this in here,” fifth grader Caleb Melton said.
Students got to help research Murray’s life, and there was even a student review committee in addition to one full of adults. Leslie Ratan was PTO president and on the review committee.
“We started the process, we dived as deeply as we could into Virginia Murray’s life, and almost everything we found about her was worth celebrating. She was a dedicated educator,” Ratan said.
Laura Richardson works at Murray Elementary and was one of the minds behind the idea for the legacy wall.
“When our name was confirmed, we felt that it was important to have a way to preserve and commemorate our schools name for future Murray students, and families and visitors,” Richardson said.
Students helped make her image come to life, through their research. They also worked together with alums to figure out what this wall should include.
“Our school saw an opportunity to engage students in civic activism by forming a parallel student named review committee,” Richardson said.
“I was really excited when I learned that we were working with students who were original to Murray when it first opened, and that they were able to bring a historical perspective,” Ratan said.
Parents helped fund the project, and the PTO set aside $5,000 for it. It now sits in the front lobby of the school, where each student can see it every day.
“We hope it’ll be an ongoing relationship. The name review process opened the door to that relationship,” Richardson said. “And then going forward that those doors will remain figuratively open to those to that broader Murray community,”
Now, current students like Caleb are celebrating the new wall, and community they get to engage with in their school.
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