Subdivisions and roads already bear the Riggs family name. Next on the list: An elementary school. The Chandler Unified School District’s 26th elementary school will be named “Riggs Elementary School,” after a family that’s been in the area for nearly a century.
The Riggs family first moved to a farm in Chandler near Chandler Heights and Gilbert roads in 1912. Since then, four generations have attended Chandler schools and many grandchildren currently attend Basha High School.
Willetta Riggs, 89, said she “nearly fell off” her stool when a district official called and told her the school would be named after her family.
“We’ve been out here many long years and we’re very proud to get a school named after our families,” she said.
School board president Annette Auxier choked up as she made a motion to name the school after the family.
“They’ve just been such a hard-working family and have contributed so much to what Chandler is today,” Auxier said.
We not only “want to honor them, but teach our children about the contributions they made,” she said.
Willetta Riggs said she grew up riding in a school bus that had wooden panels on the sides and a canvas top that flapped in the wind for air conditioning.
She attended Cleveland Grammar School, which used to be located on Chandler High School’s campus. Later, it was closed and students were relocated to Erie Elementary School.
Lyle Riggs was her high school sweetheart, and they married soon after graduating high school in 1935.
Since then, the family has “labored tirelessly as PTA presidents, homeroom parents and spearheaded many special dinners. In all, 30 Riggs family members have graduated from Chandler High School . . .” read the school board’s resolution.
The $11.6 million school will break ground soon in the Seville community near Higley and Riggs roads.