EL SOBRANTE, Calif. (KRON) — The nation’s oldest living and now retired National Park Ranger celebrated her 101st birthday Wednesday.
Betty Reid Soskin, a Bay Area civil rights icon, received a warm welcome at the school named after her just one year ago. The Betty Reid Soskin Middle School is located in El Sobrante, an honor Soskin holds dear to her heart.
“This has been the most wonderful thing that has happened to me,” said Soskin. She toured the campus, stopped by a few classrooms, and answered questions from students including some about her age.
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“How does it feel? A little bit older than 100. But, it’s probably the best time of my life,” answered Soskin. The former Berkeley record store founder, who became a National Park Service ranger in Richmond at 85 years old, relived some of her life through pictures posted on the school library’s wall.
One of Soskin’s most notable memories includes being honored by President Barack Obama. However, having a school in her name ranks at the top of her accomplishments.
“It’s as if my whole life has been leading to this moment,” added Soskin.
The visit was a thrill for both students and staff who wear Soskin’s name proudly. “I really hope that with anything we lift up the voices of people, especially our women within the United States. Show them that they can do anything,” said Jay Eirvin, school principal.
As for what’s next, Soskin said she is living in the moment. “I’m living now on the margin. I don’t really know, I don’t anticipate what comes next,” said Soskin.