Amid a sea of blue confetti and "No. 1" blue foam fingers—and against a backdrop of a giant blue banner proclaiming, "We did it!"—St. Raphael School in Rockville celebrated its first National Blue Ribbon on Sept. 26. The youngest school in the Archdiocese of Washington, SRS opened in 2006 and earned the prestigious honor the first year it was eligible.
Operated by the U.S. Department of Education, the Blue Ribbon program honors public and private schools that have graduated at least five classes. Non-public schools are recognized as “exemplary high performing” if student achievement in English and math is in the top 15 percent in the country. With scores well above the national average and exceeding the archdiocesan average, SRS has consistently surpassed Blue Ribbon requirements.
"The award is a shared blessing among all of our families, students, teachers, and staff," said teacher Jerry Nash, a 2019 recipient of the archdiocesan Golden Apple Award. "It is an affirmation of the leadership that Teri Dwyer brings as principal.”
"The Principal of the Year, the NCEA award, and our Golden Apples were all individual accolades," said Dwyer, who was honored as the ADW's Principal of the Year in 2018 and recognized among the country's top educators by the National Catholic Educational Association in January. "But this recognition is for our team—students, parents, staff, families, parishioners. We weave Christ into everything we do. This Blue Ribbon is like a gold medal validating a job well done!"