Saturday, May 15, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 20th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 12 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 12

New school named to honor former Boys and Girls Club director

By Malea Martin

On May 13, the Santa Maria-Bonita School District (SMBSD) board of education unanimously voted to name the district’s new elementary school after Bill Libbon, who worked with the Santa Maria Valley Boys and Girls Club for 40 years. 

The Santa Maria-Bonita School District’s new elementary school will be named after William “Bill” Libbon, a Santa Maria resident of nearly 60 years who worked with local youth for the last 50.

William “Bill” Libbon Elementary School is still under construction but is expected to be ready for students in the fall—though when schools will reopen remains uncertain.

“The new school campus will open when the other 20 schools in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District reopen their campuses,” SMBSD Public Information Officer Maggie White wrote in an email announcing the new name. “Learning for students at Libbon Elementary will begin on Aug. 13, 2020, as it will for all SMBSD students for the 2020-21 school year.”

The man behind the new school’s name moved to Santa Maria with his family in 1961, and still lives in the community today. 

“It’s an unbelievable honor. I’m really grateful to the community for all their support,” Libbon said. “It’s the climax of my career, you could call it—something I never thought would happen or dreamed of.” 

Libbon attended five different local schools as he completed his elementary, middle, and high school education. He then went to Allan Hancock College for a couple of years. 

While studying at Hancock, Libbon got his first taste of working with the Boys Club in Santa Maria: The director at the time asked him to coach the club’s sixth grade basketball team, which he did as a volunteer for two years while attending Hancock. 

Libbon decided to get his bachelor’s degree at Long Beach State. After getting his degree, he once again found himself back home, with his eyes set on getting a physical education teaching credential from Cal Poly. But a different opportunity arose: The Boys and Girls’ club had a position open up, and they wanted Libbon for the job.

“I was hired as the program director,” he said. “I started there at the Boys and Girls Club on Jan. 15, 1975. From program director I became director of operations, and eventually the executive director.”

Since retiring in 2014, Libbon continues to work part time helping Santa Maria’s parks department with its sports programs.

“It keeps me busy, and it’s a lot of fun too,” he said. “I’ve been working with kids since I graduated high school in 1969, so it’s been five decades of working with kids in Santa Maria Valley.”

Public comments submitted ahead of the May 13 school board meeting included one from city resident Andrea Ford in support of using Libbon’s name for the new school.

“I’m a born-and-raised Santa Maria resident. I’m 37 years old, and I can proudly say that out of my 37 years of living here I was a Boys and Girls Club member from age 9 until I was probably 19 years of age,” Ford said. “There are so many teenagers that were so grateful for the events that were allowed to go on because Bill gave us the OK. [He] always believed that the teens needed a place to be, otherwise everyone would just end up in trouble or on the streets.”

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