The widow of Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play in baseball's major leagues, on Thursday urged students at a Long Beach school named for her husband to make the most of their chances in life.
Rachel Robinson attended the dedication of the Jackie Robinson Academy, a 550-student, state-of-the-art school that officials called the first of its kind in the district.
"You have an opportunity here, just as Jackie Robinson had an opportunity when (Brooklyn Dodgers owner) Branch Rickey chose him to be the first black player in the major leagues," she said.
Robinson, who died in 1972, was brought up to the majors in 1947 and was named major league baseball's rookie of the year. He became the National League's most valuable player in 1949, the year he won the league batting title, and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, in his first year of eligibility.
The school is the first of its kind in the district, and features computers and other advanced technology in all its classrooms. More than 300 children are on a waiting list to enroll.