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Area schools earn ‘blue ribbon’

Hollidaysburg, Cambria Heights, Everett achieve distinction

Three schools in the region were recognized as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools, a distinction given to schools that perform well academically or close achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School, Cambria Heights Senior High School and Everett Area High School were among the 13 Pennsylvania schools to receive the honor.

Hollidaysburg Area Superintendent Robert Gildea said in a news release the district is proud “of the hard work that Dr. (Maureen) Letcher, Mr. (Mark) Harrington and their dedicated staff have invested into making Hollidaysburg Senior High School a warm and friendly learning environment where all students have the opportunity to excel.”

Gildea said the students have made the best of the wide array of opportunities to excel in academics, the arts and athletics.

“We are grateful to the school board and our community for their continued commitment to the education of our youth,” he said.

The Blue Ribbon recognition “truly is an honor and a huge deal for the senior high school,” Senior High Principal Maureen Letcher said in an email.

Also in an email, Hollidaysburg Area School Board President Ron Sommer said the award was because of the hard work and cooperation of everyone involved in the education process.

“The board is very proud of all who have helped achieve this reward,” Sommer wrote.

Cambria Heights Superintendent Kenneth Kerchenske announced the honor “with great enthusiasm” in a letter to the community Tuesday.

“Congratulations to Principal DuBreucq, the entire faculty and staff, the student body and all the parents, guardians, and community members who continuously support our students and schools,” Kerchenske said in the letter.

In a phone interview, Kerchenske expressed his pride in his district.

“I’m certainly very proud, and we’re very excited for the entire school community,” he said. “The teachers have worked very hard, and we have great community support. I feel that this is something the community needs and deserves right now.”

Everett Area Superintendent Danny Webb said the distinction is “quite an accomplishment.”

“I credit the entire district, everybody in this effort,” Webb said. “Back in 2014, we started to seek gaining this recognition, and we set our sights on achieving that status knowing it was a big benchmark to meet. The accomplishment belongs to everyone in the district, K-12.”

In its 39 years, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized more than 9,000 schools, with 325 schools earning the award this year.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release. “I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional and mental health needs.”

Mirror Staff Writer Andrew Mollenauer is at 814-946-7428.

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