Grand Terrace residents get high school name they wanted
At a special meeting, the Colton Joint Unified School District Board of Education voted 4-0 to rename the 67-acre campus Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex.
Vice President Mel Albiso and trustees Frank Ibarra and David Zamora were absent.
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About 120 people packed the district board room on South Mount Vernon Avenue.
Grand Terrace resident Amanda Betten, who had helped organize a state testing protest against the district, praised the board and said her group plans to form a Grand Terrace High School Foundation to support of the campus.
Not everyone was happy.
Grand Terrace resident David Batyi said the inclusion of Abril's name was "ridiculous."
"I feel that the board can redeem itself if they just name it Grand Terrace High School," he said. "That's all we want."
The suggested change came from trustee Robert Armenta Jr.
The action follows weeks of discord between the school board and Grand Terrace residents who were upset with the board's decision in March to name the city's first high school after Abril, a former longtime trustee, instead of calling it Grand Terrace High School.
Last week, the board considered a compromise to rename the school Grand Terrace High School, with the tagline "honoring Ray Abril," but the motion died in a tie vote because trustee David Zamora was absent.
Armenta, who advocated naming the school after Abril, said the change honors both Grand Terrace residents and Abril. In addition to the high school, the campus will have a career and technology center.
"This renaming proposal both respects the city identity of Grand Terrace and duly pays tribute to Mr. Ray Abril Jr.'s advocacy and passion for children's progress in the classroom," Armenta said.
Abril's daughter, Melinda Medina, said the family supports the change and that the honor is well deserved.
"You're never going to make everyone happy," she said. "It's a compromise and I hope the residents of Grand Terrace will accept this."
Reach Melanie C. Johnson at 951-368-9489 or mjohnson@PE.com