Pasadena School Renamed for Octavia Butler in Official Ceremony

A Pasadena (CA) middle school will now be known as Octavia E. Butler Magnet, a Dual-Language STEAM Middle School. A ceremony at the school on September 15 made official the name change first announced in February.

“This evening isn’t merely about a simple name change. It’s about the kind of change that Octavia believed should begin with education, change that could be ignited by dedicated teachers and fueled by a school community. Ultimately, it’s about change that I know will come from all the amazing kids who see Octavia as a role model and can learn from her legacy,” said Dr. Brian McDonald, Superintendent of Pasadena Unified School District.

Octavia Butler

Octavia E. Butler began some of her early novels at the former Washington Junior High School. She graduated from John Muir High School in 1965 and went on to achieve the highest honors in the field of science fiction writing.

The school originally opened in 1924. Students who attended there include Jack Parsons (1926), one of the principal founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Jackie Robinson (1935). In 2020 the school library officially became the Octavia E. Butler Library, and it subsequently was decided to rename the school in her honor.

The ceremony was attended by students, teachers, parents, and elected officials. Dr. Shannon Malone, PUSD Senior Director of K-12 schools and former Octavia E. Butler Magnet Principal, read a letter that Octavia E. Butler wrote in 2000 to President Bill Clinton in response to his request of some of our country’s “greatest thinkers” to predict the vision for our future. In it, she says education can change everything:

“Mr. President: Education, of course, is the key to any hope we have for a comfortable, prosperous future… Education at its best teaches us to go on learning and thus to deal with whatever the future brings… What we become depends very much on what we do now and how we educate the poorest and apparently least promising among us.”

Read more about Octavia E. Butler Magnet at the school’s website.

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6 thoughts on “Pasadena School Renamed for Octavia Butler in Official Ceremony

  1. I met Octavia when I was assigned by a newspaper for which I was writing to interview her.

    In that interview she changed my life, restored my faith in myself, and gave me new confidence that in choosing to be a writer I had taken a not only appropriate, but genuinely good path. My admiration for her as a writer is exceeded only by my admiration for her as a person.

    Good choice on the part of the school people.

  2. Pingback: Octavia Butler Wins Forry Award | File 770

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