Los Angeles is naming a new elementary school after a Korean American living legend.
The board of directors of the Los Angeles Unified School District met today and approved the new elementary school’s name to be the “Dr. Sammy Lee Medical and Health Science Magnet Elementary School,” named after the 92-year-old former Olympic diver.
Dr. Lee was the first Asian American to win a gold medal for the United States and competed at the London Olympics in 1948 and the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, winning gold medals in the 10-meter platform at both Olympics.
The native of Fresno, Calif., was already a physician when he won his gold medals, having earned a medical degree from the University of Southern California in 1947. He also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War.
“If approved, this will be the third LAUSD School to be named after a Korean American hero,” said Yonah Hong, a board member for the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council, in a statement released prior to the vote. “This is a true accomplishment and a celebration for the entire Korean American community.”
Dr. Sammy Lee Elementary will join two other Koreatown schools, Charles H. Kim Elementary School and Young Oak Kim Academy (middle school), to be named after Korean Americans.
Korean American Helen Kim has been nominated to be the first principal of the school, which is expected to house 32 classrooms and is set to open in August. The building is located in the northeast corner of Koreatown at 3600 W. Council Street, Los Angeles, CA 90004.
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