By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
Before a throng of cheering students, faculty and staff watching the announcement online, All Saints Catholic School was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Academic Excellence Sept. 29 by the U.S. Department of Education.
The school was one of only 50 private schools in the United States to receive the award, which is given to schools that have demonstrated overall academic excellence.
In his address to recipients, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan offered his congratulations and encouraged administrators at the schools to share their best practices with colleagues from other schools.
“You represent excellence in vision, implementation and results,” Duncan said. “Demonstrate what is working when it comes to engaging your staff or promoting a culture of college and career readiness. Show them the value of involving community members and families in your student’s learning process.”
This is the second time All Saints has won the prestigious award, taking home their first in 2006.
Father Tony Lackland, pastor of All Saints Catholic Church, praised the school’s administration for its dedication to the students.
“(Receiving the award is) very humbling but it’s also a great excitement to know that under the leadership of our principal Kelly Blake and the great staff that we have we are able to offer a sound Catholic education; one that’s both rooted in Catholic teaching but also offering the needed skills in the world,” Father Lackland said. “We have outstanding school leaders and faculty.”
Blake said the recognition should go mostly to the teachers, whom she said put in countless hours of their own time to improve the educational experience of their students.
“The teachers here are extremely dedicated,” Blake said. “That has been the biggest part of it. They’re the ones that are doing it.”
Blake said she has received dozens of cards, emails and notes from excited parents. She said the award stands as affirmation that the school is moving in the right direction.
“This is just going to increase our momentum,” Blake said. “We will continue to do what we’ve always done and that’s look for ways to be even better.”
Father Lackland, president of the school’s advisory council Julie Nickols, and assistant principal Laura McCorkle will travel to Washington, D.C. in early November to accept the award on behalf of the school.