Blue hats, blue flowers, blue clothes and even blue hair — students, faculty and staff at Solon Robinson Elementary donned all things blue Monday afternoon at the school's National Blue Ribbon celebrations.
Last month, Solon Robinson Elementary in the Crown Point Community School Corp. was one of seven public schools in the state to be awarded the prestigious National Blue Ribbon prize given by the U.S. Department of Education, and Monday the school celebrated in district "Solon style."
Solon Robinson Principal Barbara Merrill and Crown Point Superintendent Teresa Eineman joined three others from Solon Robinson to accept the award earlier this month in a National Blue Ribbon ceremony in Washington. D.C. While there, the Solon Robinson representatives met with teachers and administrators from the 349 other schools from across the country recognized this year and accepted a National Blue Ribbon school flag presented by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Returning from the trip, Merrill said she knew the school needed to celebrate the achievement soon and in a big way.
"It's a lifetime achievement for the school," Merrill said. "It's an affirmation that what we do here works."
Blue Ribbon schools are first nominated by the state, then submit an application packet to the U.S. Department of Education. Solon Robinson was nominated as an Exemplary High Performing School based on the school's high test scores — an achievement amplified by Solon Robinson's status as a Title I school, meaning at least 40 percent of the school's students come from low-income families.
"This school is high poverty, a Title I school, and it beats all the odds," Eineman said. "This is what they're all about. The students give 100 percent all day, every day."
Everyone from current and former teachers to custodial staff and crossing guards were recognized in the Solon Robinson gymnasium Monday.
As student-selected favorites like "We Are the Champions" by Queen and "Happy" by Pharrell Williams blared across the gymnasium, each class had an opportunity to stand, dance and cheer for their school's award. Merrill joined with them, shouting from stage, "It's a great day to be a Stinger!"
Solon Robinson joins George Bibich Elementary, Dyer, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary, Valparaiso, as Northwest Indiana winners nominated this year. This is the third National Blue Ribbon awarded within Crown Point Community School Corp. Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary and Douglas MacArthur Elementary were recognized in 2011 and 2012 respectively.