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State Superintendent Helps Simpson Elementary Celebrate Blue Ribbon Award

State Superintendent John Barge, along with a number of Gwinnett County School leaders attended a special presentation on Wednesday to recognize the Peachtree Corners school's students, teachers and staff for their success.

Wednesday was a banner day for the Simpson Elementary School Super Stars.

Following the announcement in September that the Peachtree Corners school was named one of only 314 schools in the nation to receive the 2012 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award - State Superintendent Dr. John Barge and Gwinnett school leaders followed up with a visit to recognize the school's accomplishment.

The afternoon included raising a National Blue Ribbon School flag that will fly under the American flag, remarks by the school dignitaries - and ice cream, courtesy of Blue Bell Ice Cream.

"You guys really are super stars," said Barge addressing a number of fifth grade students who had gathered in the school's cafeteria for the celebration.

"You are in the top 10 percent of all schools in the state, there are over 2,600 schools in the state - only eight from Georgia were chosen for the award. You guys are really the cream of the crop, and we're here to celebrate with you."

The award, which began 30 years ago in 1982 has been given to only 7,000 schools said Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Area III Board of Education member who also attended the celebration.

"What an honor and a privilege it is to be here on such an important day," said Dr. Murphy addressing the students, teachers and school leaders.

The honor also brings added recognition. "The eyes of the nation are on you," said Murphy. "Other schools will be looking to Simpson Elementary to learn best practices."

On stage with Dr. Barge, Gwinnett school leaders and other guests, were two fifth grade students Elizabeth Burton and Brooke Weaver.

Weaver, the Student Council President, spoke in behalf of the students. "We've been told over and over that we are super stars and the Blue Ribbon award confirms that it means they were right."

Principal Bron Gayna Schmit acknowledged that it was the hard work of her teachers and the support of the parents and community that helped propel the students to their success. "We are excited to be a 2012 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. It feels great," she said.

Due to budget cuts "the last couple of years have been tough," acknowledged Schmit. "But we decided to count our many blessings, and you are my greatest blessings," she told the students.

Attending the award recognition:

  • State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge
  • Gwinnett County Associate Superintendent Dr. Steve Flynt
  • Gwinnett County Chief of Staff Ms. Berney Kirkland
  • Gwinnett County Area II Superintendent Ms. Kelly McCain
  • Area III Board of Education member Dr. Mary K. Murphy
  • Principal Ms. Bron Gayna Schmit
  • Assistant Principals Dr. Deanna Fraker, Ms. Kristin Hill, Dr. Susan Scally and Ms. Melissa Sutton
  • 2012 Simpson Teacher of the Year Mr. Jose Rivera
  • Student Council President Ms. Brooke Weaver
  • Representative from Blue Bell Creameries
  • Matt Cardoza
  • Keisha ford-Jenrette
  • Ron Culver

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a United States government program created to honor schools which have achieved high levels of performance or made significant improvements in closing the achievement gap in schools where at least 40 percent of the student population is classified as disadvantaged.

Related stories: 

  • Simpson Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School
  • Simpson Elementary Receives National Blue Ribbon Award 

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