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Tulsa Public Schools board votes to change Gilcrease Elementary to John Hope Franklin

Posted at 9:11 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 23:08:46-04

TULSA, Okla. — This fall students and staff at Gilcrease Elementary School will move onto the campus of Bunche Early Childhood Development Center.

Before the year began, a group of more than 400 students, staff, and parents proposed and voted on ideas for a neutral name.

"You couldn't use Bunche or Gilcrease because those were used and it would favor one or the other so we had to pick a new name. There were many names up for contention but they settled on John Hope Franklin," Gilcrease Elementary teacher Greg Bilbruck said.

The district expects to have new signs by the time the year starts, giving the school a fresh beginning.

"It's an opportunity for our students to learn more about who is John Hope Franklin, and what contributions did he make, and how does that then relate to their lives?" director of student services Ebony Johnson said.

A Tulsan and graduate of Booker T. Washington, Franklin was recognized by two presidents for his work as a historian. Still, some are having trouble saying goodbye to the legacy of the name Gilcrease.

"I think there was a lot of emotion attached to Gilcrease. It was Gilcrease Middle School and then Gilcrease Elementary. A lot of kids that went here didn't want the name to change," Bilbruck said.

Other teachers tell 2 Works for You the community has adapted to many changes and shifts between schools over the years. But one thing they plan to keep the same is their dedication to students.

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