The Sato Academy of Mathematics and Science officially dedicated a Japanese garden in honor of school namesake Eunice Sato during a ceremony earlier this month.
The dedication ceremony for the Eunice N. Sato Memorial Garden featured Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Jill A. Baker and former Superintendent Chris Steinhauser as guest speakers.
Eunice’s son Doug Sato, also attended, saying students “can come to this beautiful garden and have quiet in their minds so they can have concentration, creativity and focus throughout the day,” the Long Beach Post reported.
The small Japanese garden installation, which was built with donated materials from the community, includes a traditional garden bridge and water features.
Eunice Sato, who died in February at the age of 99, was the first female mayor and first Asian mayor of Long Beach. She is widely remembered as a pillar of the city for her leadership and dedication to justice, equity and excellence in education. Her life story is one of tremendous perseverance and service to her community.
Sato was the daughter of Japanese immigrants. During World War II, she was forced to flee to Colorado with her parents and siblings to avoid being interned by the U.S. government. She later graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and earned a master’s degree in education from Columbia University in New York. She subsequently taught school in Michigan and Yokohama, Japan before returning to California.
In 1975, she was elected to the Long Beach City Council, serving until 1986. She and her fellow council members helped to turn around a city facing budget shortfalls and local economic depression.
After leaving city politics, Eunice served as president of the California Conference for Equality and Justice and on three state commissions as well as the National Advisory Council on Educational Research.
In 2015, Sato lent her name to LBUSD’s soon-to-be opened Sato Academy. Six years later, her legacy and ideals continue to be remembered at the academy.