Barbara Bush school in Mesa mourns namesake’s death

The lobby at the Barbara Bush Elementary School in Mesa honors the former first lady. /Photo- Mesa Public Schools

By Chris Coppola| The Republic

Barbara Bush took the new honor with a pleasant mix of humor and humility.

“This new experience of having people want to name things after us is really quite flattering until you realize they usually do it for people who are very, very old or dead,” the former first lady said, in a statement she issued upon learning that the Mesa Unified School District’s 49th elementary school would bear her name.

A Nov. 16, 1995, account of her reaction in The Arizona Republic then went on to explain how Bush hoped her name would inspire the school’s mission.

“But in all seriousness, it means a great deal to me that this new elementary school will be named for me because literacy, and education in general, is my No. 1 cause,” Bush said. “I’m grateful to the people of Mesa for thinking of me and hope one day I can visit my namesake.”

As it turned out, she did visit Barbara Bush Elementary School, which opened in 1996 near McKellips and Higley roads, on several occasions, even posing in pictures with the staff several times.

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