Bay Area Woman Celebrates 101st Birthday at School Named After Her

EL SOBRANTE, Calif. (KRON) — The nation’s oldest and now retired national park ranger celebrated her 101st birthday on Wednesday.

Betty Reid Soskin, a Bay Area civil rights icon, received a warm welcome at the school that bears her name just a year ago. Betty Reid Soskin Middle School is located in El Sobrante, an honor Soskin holds dear.

“It’s the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me,” Soskin said. She toured the campus, stopped by a few classrooms, and answered students’ questions, including some about her age.

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” What does it do ? Just over 100 years old. But it’s probably the best time of my life, Soskin replied. The former Berkeley record store founder, who became a National Park Service ranger in Richmond at 85, relived part of her life through photos posted on the school library wall.

One of Soskin’s most notable memories is being honored by President Barack Obama. However, having a school named after him ranks at the pinnacle of his accomplishments.

“It’s like my whole life led up to this moment,” Soskin added.

The visit was a great pleasure for the students and staff who proudly carry the Soskin name. “I really hope that with everything, we make people’s voices heard, especially our women in the United States. Show them that they can do anything,” said school principal Jay Eirvin.

As for what’s next, Soskin said she’s living in the moment. “I now live on the fringes. I don’t really know, I don’t anticipate what’s next,” Soskin said.

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