Columbia schools celebrate Ralph

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COLUMBIA - Beulah Ralph worked 58 years at Douglass High School. The city of Columbia plans on honoring her well into the future, too. 

Ralph will be the namesake for a new elementary school at the intersection of Route KK and Scott Boulevard. Construction has already begun at the site. 

"It was an honor for her name to be on the list [for naming consideration]," Monica Naylor, Ralph's daughter, said. "When it came true, of course it was unreal." 

Ralph, who died in 2010, started the Homeschool Communicator program to link schools with the homes. She began her work when Douglass High School was an all-black school and integration was just beginning. 

Naylor says even after her mother's and her own contributions to the school system, there is more work to be done in a diverse community. She said relations between races, especially at a younger age, can improve.

"Appreciating the diversity," Naylor said. "It's one thing to recognize it, but it's certainly something altogether to learn to appreciate and accept differences." 

"She was instrumental in really getting into the homes of all our students, but in particular our African American Students," Christie King, president of the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education, said. "I was very sad I'd never met her."

The school will open in 2016.