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School in Mountain View Named for Celebrated Journalist, Immigration Activist

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX) -- Mountain View's newest school was officially named after one its most notable former residents, Jose Antonio Vargas.

In a sweltering gathering inside the multi-use room, Vargas was surrounded by school board members, various local and state elected officials, former teachers and friends and family who had traveled across the country to be present for the naming ceremony.

"This school, our school, represents the power of community. How to treat people with respect. How to live your life with love. How to live a life of continuous education that we can never stop learning, and learning about each other," said Vargas.

Vargas grew up in Mountain View, attending Crittenden Middle School and Mountain View High School and secured a private scholarship to attend San Francisco State University. Vargas went on to become a reporter for the Washington Post, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for team coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.

In 2011, he revealed that he was an undocumented immigrant. Vargas' family sent him from the Philippines to the United States as a child, to be raised by his grandparents. The 38-year-old has since become an outspoken activist for immigration reform.

"I wouldn't be the human being that I am without my community. I define American as community. The community of people who see you and make you feel whole," said Vargas.

Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary is K-5 school that sits on a 5-acre lot at 221 N. Whisman Road. The two-story modular design features state-of-the-art classrooms, a library, multi-use room, and two play structures. It located about a mile from Vargas' childhood home.

When asked what message the naming of the school sends to President Trump, Vargas took a long pause.

"We live in such a divided time right now but every community has to decide who's welcome. There are an estimated 350,000 undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area alone. I hope they feel welcome in this area. I know I do," said Vargas.

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