CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE)- A new Clovis elementary school is being named in honor of a long-time Clovis Unified teacher, leader, and ground-breaking Japanese American.

Officials say that Clovis Unified School District’s next elementary school, which opens in August of 2024 at Fowler and McKinley avenues, will bear the name Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama Elementary.

Hirayama, who retired in 1991 and passed away in 2021, devoted a large part of his career to helping disenfranchised students overcome challenges and excel, according to school officials.

School officials say Hirayama was drafted into the MLB St. Louis Browns after being a highly successful student-athlete at Fresno State University, only to put his career on hold to serve the U.S. Army in the Korean War.

Hirayama then went on to become the first Japanese American to play in Japan’s professional baseball league.

Officials say the naming of the school after Mr. Hirayama also celebrates the important role the Japanese community has played in the Central Valley.