ST. LOUIS – A magnet school for gifted children in south St. Louis gets a new name.

It used to be “Kennard Classical Junior Academy” named for Confederate Army Lieutenant Samuel Kennard. The school board chose to rename the school as “Betty Wheeler Classical Junior Academy” for the late educator Betty Wheeler.

Wheeler was the founding principal at Metro High School in 1972 and is well-known for her innovative programs. Wheeler started her teaching career at Gundlach and Yeatman elementary schools before opening Metro in 1972.

Family members and former students say Wheeler demonstrated care, compassion and confidence in every child’s ability to achieve greatness.

For the school’s new name, the dedication ceremony is at 6 p.m. Thursday at 5031 Potomac Street in the Northampton neighborhood.