Three Mississippi public schools and one private school have been recognized as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Three of those four are on the Coast, and they’re among 362 schools nationwide being recognized for academic excellence.
The four schools are:
- St. Patrick Catholic High School in Harrison County
- Bayou View Elementary School in Gulfport
- Pineville Elementary School in Pass Christian
- Northshore Elementary School in Brandon
While this is a first for Northshore and Pineville, Bayou View also was named a Blue Ribbon School in 2007.
St. Patrick was named to the top 50 private schools in the nation, and it’s the first Mississippi high school, public or private, to be named a Blue Ribbon school seven years.
The school held a special assembly Thursday afternoon to share the news with students, faculty and staff when the results were released at noon. The announcement brought cheers throughout the gymnasium at the school founded just over a decade ago in 2007.
“We’re thrilled,” Principal Matt Buckley said. “It’s a testament to our faculty, staff and the commitment of our students.”
St. Patrick recently implemented a one-on-one technology initiative where all courses are “built within a digital learning environment” so students able to do a majority of their work from a laptop and an online learning management system.
Jeffrey Todd Fayard, a senior, said the distinction adds to the pride he has in the Fighting Irish, while crediting the teachers’ commitment and the school’s emphasis on faith.
“I feel it’s a good thing to be recognized with all of the hard work we’ve done here,” Fayard said. “I think what makes this school special and one of the best in the country is the emphasis on the Catholic faith that is shared at this school and the way our teachers strive to push us to go as far as we can.”
Camille Seghers, also a senior, has attended St. Patrick since seventh grade and hopes to become a lawyer one day. She said the honor is no surprise, and the school has prepared her for her next steps after graduation.
“I love it, you really get a good education,” Seghers said. “They make time for you and there’s teachers who always make time. We’ve only been getting better throughout the years.”
“We have a 100 percent graduation rate and 100 percent of our students are going to college,” Buckley said. He said the school’s goal is to ensure students are ready when they leave the high school not only academically, but spiritually.
“We have an intentional focus on training disciples and making sure that our students are willing and able to go out into the world and make a difference in the lives of those they are serving.”