La Porte ISD's Lomax Elementary School was among only 315 campuses in the nation honored as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools at the Nov. 15 awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The event was held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel as the culmination of two days of activities for representatives from the award-winning schools. A total of 266 public and 49 private schools joined the more than 6,000 campuses that have received the National Blue Ribbon School distinction over the past 29 years.
Lomax was one of 26 schools from Texas to receive this prestigious award. Campuses were first nominated for the honor by Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott and completed a lengthy application process to be considered for the designation as National Blue Ribbon Schools.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at very high levels and/or where the achievement gap is narrowing. The program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement.
"America's long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow."
Principal and teacher representatives from the honored schools had the chance to participate in a number of information sessions and discussions during the activities on Nov. 14 and 15.
"It was fascinating to sit with a principal from California on one side and a principal from a whaling town in Maine on the other and discover that they are just like us, with the same challenges and concerns," said Vickie Gentile, who served as principal of Lomax Elementary from 2008 to 2011 and now serves as principal at Bayshore Elementary. "We all want to reach out to our parents and make them realize how much we want them involved in our schools. It was so special to me to be able to share with people from all over the country and realize that they have the same expectations and goals that we do."
Representatives from the honored schools were presented with 2011 National Blue Ribbon School flags and plaques during the awards recognition ceremony beginning at noon on Nov. 15. Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, spoke to those in attendance.
The celebratory atmosphere of the event was heightened with the recognition of each 2011 National Blue Ribbon School. Aba Kumi, director of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, announced the winners alphabetically by state.
"It made me so proud of our school," said Dan Eubank, who served as principal of Lomax Elementary from 1994 to 2002 and returned to the campus this year. "To think that only 315 schools in the nation received this honor-and that includes both public and private schools and elementary and secondary campuses! It was wonderful to represent Lomax and its teachers, students and parents."
A number of activities celebrating Lomax Elementary School's achievement are being planned throughout the year.
"Earning distinction as a National Blue Ribbon School is an achievement that can be compared to winning a national championship in the academic realm," said Lloyd W. Graham, LPISD superintendent. "It was a indeed a privilege to see Lomax Elementary honored at the highest level possible for the tremendous efforts of the school's teachers, students, parents, administrators and staff, and it was certainly a grand way to begin the Thanksgiving season. We are very proud of and pleased for everyone who has been involved in Lomax Elementary attaining this pinnacle of success."