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The Los Angeles Unified School District changed its procedure and named Belmont Elementary #5 after a person still living in the community; this was a first for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Evelyn Thurman Gratts also known as, “Mrs. Belmont,” was a petite, elderly African American woman. She attended Union Avenue Elementary School, Virgil Middle School, and Belmont High School.

Her main interest in life was to make the Westlake community a safe and productive environment for all children. She organized a parent group to fight against gang fights at Belmont High School. Her two major contributions to the community were Head Start and the opening of the first integrated swimming pool in the Echo Park area. Mrs. Gratts believed in a rewarding future for all children regardless of their national origin or ethnic heritage.

To this day her family still continues to support our school by participating in the 5th Grade culmination ceremony and presenting a scholarship award to one of our students.