Two South MS schools win prestigious national awards - - The News for South Mississippi

Two South MS schools win prestigious national awards

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Students at Saucier Elementary School gathered together Friday morning to hear the good news of their school being named a National Blue Ribbon School. Students at Saucier Elementary School gathered together Friday morning to hear the good news of their school being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Congratulations to two South Mississippi schools. Saucier Elementary in Harrison County and Pass Christian Middle School got the official word Friday that they have won the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award.

At Saucier Elementary, more than 430 students and teachers had no idea why they were brought to the school gym.

"Saucier Elementary is one of 269 schools in the entire country recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. Congratulations! I'm so excited!" Cindy Grimes announced.

Everyone burst into cheers when they heard that their school is among the best in the country.

"We're a rural school and most people don't think about us too much. That doesn't mean we're not doing great things and there are great things happening at Saucier [Elementary]. I'm just excited that we're finally getting the recognition that we deserve," said Grimes.

The National Blue Ribbon award honors schools that are high performing, as well as schools that have at least 40-percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and showed dramatic improvements in test scores.

"It's a very prestigious award and we know not many schools, only three in the state of Mississippi, received the award. So we were very excited to get the award and get the acknowledgement for all our hard work," said Jamie Speights, a teacher at Saucier Elementary.

As a reward for their achievement, the school is planning a big community celebration.

"We're going to have a big ole party!" Grimes told the students.

And they made the pledge to do even better next year.

The students held up their right hands and recited, "I pledge to do my very best every day, so we can be a Blue Ribbon School again."

"We have made our state and our community very proud. Congratulations to you all. Thank you," Grimes told her students and teachers.

And over at Pass Christian Middle School, students and teachers heard the exciting news about their award over the intercom.  The cheers seemed to drown-out the rest of Principal Joe Nelson's announcement. He congratulated everyone for their hard work and dedication. Afterwards, teachers hugged each other and a few shed tears of joy.

"I was so excited when I heard it. It was just my goodness, people have worked so hard for this for many years," said Pass Christian Middle School teacher Suzanne Ishee.

"We have the best teachers, we have the best kids, we have the best administration and best staff you can find anywhere on the coast. And the community supports us so well. So yes, well earned, well deserved," Ishee added.

West Lincoln Attendance Center in Brookhaven, MS, also received the award. The U.S. Department of Education will honor all the Blue Ribbon schools at a ceremony in Washington D. C. in mid-November. Each school will receive a plaque and a flag.

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