By Elizabeth Lowe
ELKRIDGE – At a school-wide assembly Sept. 13 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School, St. Augustine School seventh-grader John Dutan was bubbling was excitement.
“I’ve been here since kindergarten,” John said. “I’m not too surprised at all this happened. I want to say thank you to the principal, teachers and my friends and all students in the school for making this possible.”
The Elkridge parish school becomes the 15th Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to receive the honor over the years.
Patricia Schratz, St. Augustine’s principal who told the students of the honor during lunch Sept. 7, said receiving the designation is “a momentous occasion for us. The standard we have set we must maintain.”
Julia Stanitski, an eighth-grader, said the school received the honor “because of the teachers we have. They make the classes really interesting and fun and they have a really good sense of humor.”
Father John A. Williamson, pastor of St. Augustine, Elkridge, and Church of the Ascension, Halethorpe, expressed his gratitude to Schratz and the school’s teachers.
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“They made it possible,” said Father Williamson, who noted he is pleased that the school community’s hard work “has been nationally recognized.”
Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, thanked the school community for its hard work, commitment to excellence and for “inspiring each and every one of us.”
The award is the highest academic honor bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education, recognizing public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.
Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson also received the distinction Sept. 7. The school community marked the honor by holding a surprise assembly for students, affixing blue ribbons to their clothes and eating Almond Joys – candies wrapped in blue and symbolizing “joy.”
These two schools were among 269 across the nation to be recognized with the coveted honor this year. They were two of 50 private schools to receive the honor.
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Copyright (c) Sept. 13, 2012 CatholicReview.org