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Newport elementary school named for Pell opens

A new school named for the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell is opening in Newport.

A ribbon-cutting for Pell Elementary School is planned for Wednesday. The first day of classes is Thursday.

The Rhode Island Democrat, who died in 2009, sponsored the federal higher education grant program that is named after him.

School committee Vice Chairwoman Jo Eva Gaines tells The Providence Journal she called Pell's widow, Nuala Pell, and asked for permission to name the school for him after realizing that no school bears his name "after all he had done for education."

The Newport Daily News reports that elementary schoolchildren had been attending four schools across Newport, but all of them will now attend the new 890-student school. It is near capacity.

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