KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Barbara Bush Elementary School In Mesa Honors First Lady's Legacy

A Mesa elementary school quieted for a few moments this morning to remember its namesake, First Lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday.

Principal Tracy Olson greeted students and staff over the intercom and asked them to take a moment of silence.

“She was a great lady and a good standard for us to hold up to and to look toward,” Olson said.

The former first lady and mother of a U.S. president advocated for childhood literacy.

The Mesa Public Schools district named the school for her in 1996 and she visited several times over the years. The Arizona Republic reported it's the only school outside of Texas that shares her name.

Her portrait looks down over the school’s main hallway. A display case below holds photos and objects representing her favorite things, an ice cream scoop (for her favorite food), lilies (her favorite flower), a vase of blue marbles (her favorite color) and her one of her favorite books “Amazing Grace.”

The book is about a girl who loves stories and imagines herself as Joan of Arc, a pirate and Mowgli.

“I think our students learn from Mrs. Bush to love reading, to support and value education, to be strong,” Olson said.   

Students are decorating colorful construction paper pages that will be bound in a book and sent to the Bush family.

“Thank You For Your Legacy” is written in cursive on red heart on an American Flag background with glittery stars.

In gray, outlined with teal and orange colored pencil. “Dear Barbara Bush you have lived a good life, and you have seen alot (sic)  of things.”

In blue skinny marker: “We want you to always be very strong and brave. You are a very good woman. You will always have a good heart! We love you!”

Barbara Bush was 92 and died in her home in Houston, Texas.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.