Wonderful things happen in the community every day, but it’s not every day that a school is nationally recognized and given an award by the U.S Department of Education. Central Elementary School in Valparaiso has recently been selected as a National Blue Ribbon School, and on Monday, November 21, the school held an assembly for students and staff to celebrate this remarkable accomplishment.
The Blue Ribbon Award is awarded to the highest ranking schools in the country, symbolizing that a school has some of the highest-achieving students. Central Elementary was nominated for this incredible award, and in early November two Central teachers - Laura Doran and Jill Higgins - went down to Washington D.C. to receive it.
At the celebration assembly, everyone was incredibly excited to celebrate the award and all the hard work that made it possible. With the help of some Valparaiso High School cheerleaders, the students came up with a new Central family cheer and danced their hearts out. Even the teachers had a fun time chanting and singing.
“Letting the kids have a chance to dance and celebrate their accomplishments was wonderful. It was great to see them all get involved and excited. Also, getting to watch the video the students made about why they love Central is always a special thing to see,” said Haley Sarkisian, principal of Central Elementary.
Central Elementary receiving this award is incredible for so many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is because Central is so small compared to most other elementary schools.
“We use the phrase that we’re small but mighty. So, when we were able to share our story with the other schools that we would encounter it was just really exciting to say how small of a school we are and that we’ve accomplished this great goal. It’s truly a testament to all of the students and staff. It’s amazing after all these years to be recognized and show people that even though we’re small we can do great things,” said Higgins.
Receiving this award not too long after the pandemic has also made earning this award even more meaningful.
“After a couple of years of COVID and hardships and challenges, I think it was just such a great way to come out of all that. As challenging as it was and as much as work we put into everything, seeing it pay off and getting that recognition is really special,” said Sarkisian.
Now that Central is a Blue Ribbon School, the staff can’t wait to continue working even harder to become even stronger and set even more children on the path to success.
“I think this has helped show us our achievement gaps that we’re still working on closing. We’ll never stop working towards closing those gaps and getting every child to their fullest potential. There are always new ideas to try, new children to reach, and new ways to make a difference,” said Doran.
At the end of the day, Central Elementary School’s accomplishment goes to show how rewarding and powerful teamwork can be. None of this would have been possible without the commitment of so many dedicated individuals.
“I just want to thank all of the hardworking students, our hardworking teachers, our staff, our parents, and our school community for everything. It takes a village, and you can see that when all of those people come together great things can happen,” said Sarkisian.
To learn more about Central Elementary School, visit valparaisoces.valpo.k12.in.us.