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Henrietta Lacks 

Evergreen Public Schools Names new school Henrietta lacks Health and BioScience High School

In a unanimous decision by the Evergreen Public Schools' Board of Directors, Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School was chosen as the name of the health and bioscience high school. The school will also be known as HeLa High, and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.

Henrietta Lacks (pictured at right) was an African American woman whose cancerous cells were removed, unbeknownst to her or her family, while a patient at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Lacks died in 1951. Her cells were given to a researcher, who discovered that Lacks cells did something never seen before: They could be kept alive and grow. The cells were named HeLa. These immortal cells were used by Jonas Salk to develop the polio vaccine, and have been used for cancer research, AIDS, the effects of radiation and toxic substances, gene mapping, and countless other scientific pursuits. There are more than 10,000 patents involving HeLa cells.

"It is such an honor to name our new school after a person who so impacted the world of medicine and science," said school board member Victoria Bradford, who also served on the naming committee. "It is also a privilege to be the first organization to publicly memorialize Henrietta Lacks by naming this school building after her."

The name was one of three options presented by a naming committee comprised of Evergreen Public Schools' teachers, administrators, community members and students representing Evergreen, Heritage, Mountain View and Union High Schools. The other two names up for consideration were "Mother Joseph Health and Bioscience Academy" after the woman who opened the first hospital in the northwest - St. Joseph's in Vancouver - in 1858, and "Health and Bioscience Academy of Southwest Washington."

Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School will be located at N.E. 92nd and N.E. 9th Street (northeast of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.) The new school's curriculum will focus on bioscience and healthcare.