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Middle school to be renamed after famed park ranger Betty Reid Soskin

The nation’s oldest living park ranger is getting a local school named after her for her 100th birthday.

Betty Reid Soskin, the 99-year-old ranger at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, is being honored next week by the West Contra Costa Unified School District, which is rechristening Juan Crespi Middle School in El Sobrante as Betty Reid Soskin Middle School.

The ceremony takes place at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 22 — Soskin’s 100th birthday — at the school at 1121 Allview Ave. in El Sobrante.

National Park Service Betty Reid Soskin, 98, is recovering from a recent stroke. The civil rights activist, writer and oldest National Park Service ranger has educated thousands in her weekly talks at the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center in Richmond, Calif.

Soskin, who founded Reid’s Records in Berkeley with former husband Mel Reid, was active in the Civil Rights Movement and later worked for state assemblymembers Dion Aroner and Loni Hancock.

Soskin was also part of the planning and development of the park where she still works as a tour guide.

The school district will broadcast the ceremony via Facebook Live (@westcontracostaschools).

Anyone wanting to attend must provide proof of vaccination or recent negative Covid-19 test; either a PCR test within 72 hours of the event or an antigen test within six hours. Guests must also wear masks and maintain a distance of 3 feet from others.

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