ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An Orange County middle school has a new name.
The Orange County School Board on Tuesday unanimously voted to rename Stonewall Jackson Middle School to Roberto Clemente Middle School.
The name beat out two other options suggested by the community: Diversity Middle School and Seminole Creek Middle School.
The school district received input regarding potential school names from community members, school faculty and students. Students were also given the opportunity to conduct research and write essays on possible school names.
The school’s former name comes from Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War under Gen. Robert E. Lee. Now, the school is 74% Hispanic and 14% Black.
In recent years, Robert E. Lee Middle School was renamed to College Park Middle School.
Roberto Clemente was from Puerto Rico and became one of the first Latin American baseball stars in the country.
He was also known for his charity work. In 1972, he died in a plane crash while on his way to Nicaragua to bring supplies to earthquake victims. He was only 38 years old.
Samuel Vilchez Santiago attended Stonewall Jackson Middle School. He was an immigrant who just got here as a refugee.
He said this is not just a victory for the Hispanic community during, coincidentally, Hispanic Heritage Month.
“I think the most important thing is that Roberto Clemente as an Afro-Latino represents that unity between the Latino community and the African American community,” he said. “And, and taking that name, the community has decided to send the message that we’re united, and we’re going to make sure that this is just the first step towards continuing our fight for racial justice.”
The district announced it will cost approximately $20,000 to rename the school, and changes include new lettering and signage, gym floor logo, school athletic uniforms, and more.