Jaylee Ruiz, 2, great-great-granddaughter of Virginia Lee Rose, looks on as dignitaries break ground at the site of Madera Unified School District’s newest school, which will be named after Rose. Ruiz will attend the future elementary school. (John Rieping)
Family and friends of the late Virginia Lee Rose gathered with local dignitaries to break ground in northeast Madera for a new elementary school that will be named in her honor.
“The first time I visited Madera was in 1974 and that weekend it was 113 degrees. I made a promise that I would never never live in a place like that,” shared John Rose, husband of the future school’s namesake, at Thursday’s ceremony. “After we retired from our jobs in the Bay Area, it was clear to me that Virginia was going to move back to Madera either with me or without me. So I quickly abandoned my promise, and I’m glad that she made that decision.”
Virginia Rose, who volunteered heavily in community organizations, would posthumously receive a Lifetime Achievement Award later Thursday.
“Virginia Lee Rose knew from every fiber of her being that only in expending ourselves in the service of others do you really realize the fulfillment of who you are,” said Ed Gonzalez, superintendent of Madera Unified School District.
The school would be the first in MUSD to be named after a woman, he said.
The 70,000 square foot, wood-frame construction project is scheduled to be finished at 351 Lilly St., not far from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, by July 31, according to Steve Tindle, vice president of general building contractor Oral E. Micham Inc.