Roosevelt's Hope Carridine Personifies School's Close Ties
Roosevelt Elementary School will be the first school to be completely rebuilt with Measure K funds. Within the next few months, the Board of Education is expected to consider plans for interim housing of Roosevelt’s 1,100 students during the construction period. The new school is tentatively scheduled to open in
When Hope Carradine dropped off her son and daughter for their first day of school 22 years ago, she had no idea how Roosevelt Elementary School would change her life—and the lives of her entire family.
“I have received so many blessings from people at Roosevelt,” says the 50-year-old grandmother of two and mother of six -- all of whom graduated from Roosevelt. As a recreational leader at the school for more than 20 years, Carradine personifies the close ties that the school has with the surrounding community.
She is among those who say they will have mixed feelings when Roosevelt Elementary is demolished and a completely new campus is built on the site in the next three years. But if she has learned anything, Hope says she understands that change, while often difficult, can lead to great things.
As a young single mother from Compton, Hope admits she once was “a bitter person” who found herself relying on public assistance and raising her children alone in a small apartment. “I had only a high school education and no job skills. I experienced a lot of violence and racism growing up in a rough neighborhood, and I really didn’t know how I would support my family,” she recalls.
Today, the woman known in the neighborhood as “Big Mama” is no longer bitter. Having learned positive lessons in the power of faith and love, she is “paying it forward” by opening up her home as a safe haven and opening her heart to the neighborhood’s children. “They come over and hang out, and I try to guide them toward completing their education and improving their lives,” Hope says.
Hope credits former Roosevelt Principal Stephanie Holtzman with making it possible for Hope’s oldest daughter, Christian, to attend UC Irvine on a scholarship. Today, the 26-year- old daughter is completing her doctorate in psychology at the University of Illinois, after graduating with honors from UC Irvine. The daughter had been planning to attend a community college after graduating from Poly High School, until Stephanie took her under her wing.
When Hope’s son, Rubyn, needed a heart transplant, Roosevelt’s assistant principal Lorraine Griego donated her blood and platelets.
“I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of my Roosevelt family,” Hope said. Her children and even extended family members now have a vision for a brighter future. Her son, Jericho, is attending UC Riverside this fall, and his younger brother, Lorenzo, aspires to attend UC Berkeley.
“My family has been so blessed,” Hope says. “I have the best crew of rec aides anywhere, and we consider all students at Roosevelt our children.” When the new school is completed, all of “Hope’s children” will be able to play in an expanded playground area.
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