CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An event celebrating the naming of a Charleston elementary school after a long-time local educator is scheduled for Nov. 13.
Community members and local and state school officials are slated to attend a reception at Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School, said the Rev. Matthew Watts.
"It's going to be a major production," said Watts, one of the leaders of a community movement to name the school after Snow.
Snow was the first black principal of an integrated school in Charleston and remained involved with the local school system for nearly 50 years. Her name was one of several considered during the construction of the elementary opened last year on Charleston's West Side.
Her name, along with others, was removed from consideration after officials heard about potential state legislation prohibiting the naming of public buildings after living people. After students eventually voted to name the school West Side Elementary, a community effort arose to have Snow's named added to the building. By that time she had passed away.
The Kanawha County Board of Education voted this summer to include her name. Watts said Monday he thought all of the board members would attend next week's ceremony and thought they would get a "greater appreciation for the good will they have engendered by supporting this."
Watts said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has committed to attend the event, and he believes state Superintendent Jorea Marple also will come. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and members of the community who supported the name change also are expected to speak.
Watts is most excited about Snow's relatives scheduled to attend. Her son, Wynn Young; brother, Roscoe Crozier; and sister, Josephine Wilson, all are coming to celebrate, Watts said.
"(Wilson) has just an effervescent personality that just takes over the room when she steps in," Watts said.
The event is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with a large photo outside the building and short speeches inside to follow. Watts said the evening would end with a screening of a trailer from Mike Youngren's documentary about Snow. It includes one of the last interviews Snow conducted before her death in 2011, Watts said.
"It's a real nice teaser. We're going to save it for last because we think it's going to bring some tears," Watts said.
Refreshments will be available after the ceremony. Anyone can attend, Watts said.