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Hughes, Rogers Accept Blue Ribbon

Teachers and administrators from Hughes and Rogers middle schools recently received the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award in Washington, D.C. The award from the U.S. Department of Education is the nation's highest honor for public schools. "Imagine what it feels like to win the World Series. This is the same feeling," said Linda Moore, principal at Rogers. She traveled with teachers Patrick Benko, Paul Jenkins and Patricia Strait, to receive the Blue Ribbon plaque during a ceremony at the Washington Hilton and Towers. The celebration featured a luncheon and remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. "Everybody's very excited. I think our staff and parents and students feel validated about all the hard work they put into our school," Moore said. The Hughes delegation included Principal Frank Rodriguez and teachers Pat Verhoven and Cynthia Vial. An entire wall in the school office is dedicated to the numerous proclamations and congratulations the school has received since the award was announced in May. The Blue Ribbon plaque completes the display. Hughes won the award thanks to continual improvement, Rodriguez said. The award is a reminder that improvement must continue. "I remember the day our school learned about the award. We were all in a meeting about how to improve the school to best meet the needs of kids," he said. "Even now, the atmosphere here is that we've done great, but we can do even better." Blue Ribbon schools must exhibit exceptional levels of community and parental involvement, high student achievement, outstanding safety records and exemplary discipline procedures. The schools are first selected by a national review panel, which conducts a thorough evaluation involving administrators, teachers, students, parents and community representatives.