Pancakes, music, fun part of celebration of national honor for local school
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
POCOPSON — It was officially A Big Deal.
Friday, Pocopson Elementary School celebrated its designation as a Blue Ribbon School by the federal Department of Education, with music, pancakes, friends and family — and of course, by forming a giant blue ribbon on the hillside in front of the school.
The big day kicked off with pancakes served to students in the school cafeteria — with the district on a half-day schedule, a volunteer-driven breakfast had the kids well fed and ready to get the party started. Students and parents received blue braclets — while many teachers, staff and parent volunteers sported navy blue t-shirts noting the Blue Ribbon honor.
Then the real celebration kicked off in the school’s gym/auditorium.
Students, parents, district dignitaries including Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Sanville, his predecessor, Sharon Parker, Assistant Superintendent Ken Batchelor, the District’s director of Elementary Education Dr. John Nolen, and Board of Education members Jeff Leiser, Eileen Bushelow and Holly Manzone — and the board president, Timotha Trigg helped to fill the room — and were put in a festive mood by the PES Dispensers, a faculty rock-n-roll band.
Dr. Andrew McLaughlin, Pocopson’s principal got the event moving, bringing in speakers including Parker (just back in town from travelling). Parker served as schools superintendent during most of the school’s history and expressed her pride and congratulations to the students, parents and faculty of the school.
Sanville — who became Superintendent earlier this fall — was effusive in praise, and wanted students and parents to understand what a big deal the award represents.
“This is like winning the World Series or winning the Super Bowl,” Sanville said, noting just 15 schools in the entire state — out of roughly 3,000 — were given this honor.
Elizabeth Williamson — acting on behalf of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan presented — formally presented the Blue Ribbon award to McLaughlin and the school. McLaughlin and some staff members will travel to Washington D.C. later this month for a formal ceremony honoring all of the nation’s Blue Ribbon schools — more than 300.
Fifth grade students Jake Ryan and Ally Weaver spoke briefly — both suggesting the main reason the school is so successful is the work of McLaughlin and the staff and then presented McLaughlin with a commemorative gift.
After a fun video — featuring students, staff and parents — it was outside to the hill for the students — all dressed in blue — to form a giant blue ribbon on the hillside. Parents were asked to line up around the outside to form a frame. Although there was the typical blustery November weather, and a stiff breeze, kids — and even the grownups — managed to get formed up in good order pretty quickly.