By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Six hundred or so students at St. Albert the Great School let out whoops of joy after Principal Bernadette Cooper announced they’d spend the rest of the day celebrating the school’s Blue Ribbon award.
The announcement came after the students attended a morning Mass Nov. 12, celebrating the feast day of St. Albert the Great and releasing dozens of yellow and blue balloons into the sky.
The school, located at 1395 Girard Drive, was named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education along with three others in the Archdiocese of Louisville — St. Mary Academy, St. Margaret Mary School and St. Gabriel the Archangel School.
Cooper attended the national award ceremony Nov. 11 in Washington, D.C., where educators were showered with praise for their schools’ accomplishment, she said.
“The people in D.C. made us feel like we’d accomplished something extraordinary,” Cooper told the students following Mass.
Indeed, she said, they have.
Three hundred schools in the nation were honored with the distinction, among them were 50 private schools. This places St. Albert and those other private schools in the top one percent in the nation, Cooper said. She also noted that most of those private schools were Catholic schools. “That was such a statement to make to the people there,” she said.
Winning this distinction, Cooper noted, was without a doubt a “team effort.” “Every teacher in this school has contributed, from pre-kindergarten up,” she said. “If they don’t do well in pre-k then they won’t do well in kindergarten. If they don’t do well there, then they won’t do well in first grade. It’s a domino effect.”
Cooper also credited the students for their hard work and the parents for staying involved and supporting their children’s learning. Cooper said she was grateful to language arts teachers Lucy Geerer and Pam Boone, who wrote the essays that were a part of the application progress. She noted than an official in Washington complimented her on the “well written summary” the school presented.
When Cooper came to St. Albert five years ago, one of her goals was to win the Blue Ribbon for a second time, she said. The school was honored with the award in 2004, as well. “You made my goal come true,” she said to her young audience. “Thank you.”
Following Mass, Cooper showed off the U.S. Department of Education plaque presented to her at the awards ceremony in Washington.
She also showed the students a plaque presented to the school by the National Catholic Educational Association and the Blue Ribbon banners which will be hung in the school building. She also told them that Sen. Mitch McConnel and President Barrack Obama sent letters of congratulations.
As the students released blue and yellow balloons into the sky, Cooper told them, “Together we can soar to new heights by making wise choices and becoming the best person we can be.”