St. Peter’s named National Blue Ribbon School
Second in Charles County to receive Dept. of Ed designation
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.”
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.
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.