St. Peter’s named Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School

Sec­ond in Charles County to re­ceive Dept. of Ed des­ig­na­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

It was all con­fetti guns and scoot­ers last week at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Waldorf, as the Catholic ele­men­tary/mid­dle school cel­e­brated be­ing named a 2017 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

“In the world of ed­u­ca­tion, this is like win­ning the Su­per Bowl, or the

World Se­ries,” St. Peter’s Prin­ci­pal J.R. West said Thurs­day.

St. Peter’s was among the 342 schools that U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Betsy DeVos an­nounced were be­ing named Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools this year, based on over­all aca­demic per­for­mance or progress in clos­ing achieve­ment gaps among stu­dent sub­groups.

“Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools are ac­tive demon­stra­tions of pre­par­ing ev­ery child for a bright fu­ture,” DeVos said in a news re­lease.

Now in its 35th year, the Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools Pro­gram has rec­og­nized more than 8,500 schools across the coun­try.

The Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools pro­gram is a sep­a­rate en­tity from the Mary­land Blue Rib­bon Schools award given by the Mary­land State De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

St. Peter’s School is the first pri­vate school in the county and only the sec­ond school in Charles County to re­ceive the Na­tional Blue Rib­bon des­ig­na­tion, the first be­ing Mil­ton M. Somers Mid­dle School of La Plata dur­ing the 1984-1985 school year.

The Na­tional Blue Rib­bon Schools were an­nounced Thurs­day. That af­ter­noon, St. Peter’s held an assem­bly to cel­e­brate.

Prin­ci­pal J.R. West and Bill Ryan, su­per­in­ten­dent of schools for the Arch­dio­cese of Washington D.C., rode into the school cafe­te­ria on scoot­ers to the pop of con­fetti guns shoot­ing col­ored pa­per into the air.

West cred­ited the stu­dents, staff and par­ents of St. Peter’s with the award.

“This has been a to­tal team ef­fort,” West said. “We’ve worked so hard in achiev­ing this goal.”

Ryan said that St. Peter’s is one of 50 pri­vate schools across the coun­try to re­ceive the recog­ni­tion this year.

“You’re one of 50 [pri­vate] schools in the whole coun­try and one of the first in South­ern Mary­land to re­ceive this award, so you have a lot to be proud of,” Ryan told stu­dents.

Ryan also read a let­ter of con­grat­u­la­tions from Car­di­nal Don­ald Wuerl, Arch­bishop of Washington.

“It is so sat­is­fy­ing to see that all the hard work of the stu­dents and the teach­ers has re­sulted in this dis­tin­guished des­ig­na­tion,” Ryan read from Wuerl’s let­ter.

The Rev. Keith Woods, pas­tor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, un­veiled a new Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School ban­ner at the school.

“Even though this is a won­der­ful recog­ni­tion from the gov­ern­ment, all of our suc­cess is pos­si­ble be­cause of the God who loves us,” Woods said. “God has looked on us and helped us by send­ing us the power of the Holy Spirit to guide our aca­demics, our sports, our art, our com­mu­nity, our par­ish and the whole church. It doesn’t make us any bet­ter than any­body else, it just makes us more grate­ful than any­body else.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

J.R. West, prin­ci­pal of St. Peter’s Catholic School, and Bill Ryan, su­per­in­ten­dent of schools for the Arch­dio­cese of Washington, ride Thurs­day through the cafe­te­ria on scoot­ers to an­nounce the school be­ing named a 2017 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School by the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Above left, Fa­ther Keith Woods, pas­tor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Waldorf, un­veils a ban­ner an­nounc­ing the school’s des­ig­na­tion as a 2017 Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School by the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion. Above right, St. Peter’s Catholic School stu­dents cel­e­brate the un­veil­ing of a ban­ner an­nounc­ing their school’s des­ig­na­tion as a Na­tional Blue Rib­bon School by the U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

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