PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Wednesday, Peoria Public Schools will kick off a new school year and some students and staff will be greeted by new school names.

The renamings are an effort to change buildings named after individuals with ties to racism and abuse.

Tuesday afternoon, a ribbon-cutting was held for Reservoir Gifted Academy, formerly known as Washington Gifted School.

The change honors the school’s original name, Reservoir Grade School, and is based on a reservoir that sits behind the building.

“I think there’s a lot of changes, especially with us returning to school a little bit earlier, so it’s fun to have a fresh new name, new logos, and I think our students will embrace our new slogan this year as well,” said Susan Martin, principal at Reservoir Gifted Academy.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was also held for the Annie Jo Gordon Community Learning Center. The school on Peoria’s south side was changed from the Harrison Community Learning Center.

Annie Jo Gordon was the first African-American employee of the Peoria Journal Star. She also served the community through the Tri-County Urban League and was affiliated with many other community-based organizations.

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth said it’s surreal to see her mother honored.

“She would pour into people, she would help people but she also was very tapped into what it means to hold people accountable, hold people responsible,” Gordon-Booth said. “The thing that I would want the students to hold on to is that they have an entire village of people who love them, who support them, who care about them, but also they have to do their part,” she added.

Annie Jo Gordon has also received awards for her dedication to the community. This includes being the recipient of the Valeska S. Hinton Minority Advocacy Award.

Another PPS school got a new name Tuesday afternoon as well. A ribbon-cutting was held for Liberty Leadership Middle School, formerly known as Charles Lindbergh Middle School.

The new name was created by the students and staff at the school. The Peoria Public School President, Martha Ross, said this is the 7th PPS that changed names before the 2022-2023 school year.

“We had already changed Woodrow Wilson to Maude Sanders, Dr. Maude Sanders, who was the first black doctor in Peoria. The majority of our kids are black and brown kids now that attend this district, they need to see people who look like them,” said Ross.