TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga Middle School is one of the best learning centers in the country - and it has proof.
The school was presented with a large banner noting its selection as a School of Distinction by the College For Every Student program during a ceremony Sept. 23.
"I want you to realize what this means," Ti Superintendent John McDonald told students. "CFES is not a local or state organization. It's a nationwide organization that works with schools across the country. It's a big deal.
"They've looked at what you've done and compared you to other schools across the country," he added. "They say you're one of the top 15 schools in the country.
"You should walk out of here proud," McDonald concluded. "Tell your parents and neighbors you go to one of the best schools in the country."
College For Every Student, a national nonprofit that helps under-served students get to college and be successful there, granted the awards to 15 schools nationwide for their success in meeting goals during the 2009-10 academic year.
The goals include 90 percent or more of students increasing their attendance rate, grade-point average, level of civic engagement and leadership capacity.
Principal Bruce Tubbs congratulated students on the award and urged them to strive for even more.
"We are celebrating this success from last year," he told students. "We can continue that success and do even better this year. We will continue to move forward. This is something I'd like to see repeated."
Steve Boyce, CFES program director for Ti schools, explained CFES works with 125 schools and 15,000 students nationally.
"I'm proud to say Ticonderoga Middle School is one of the top 15 schools in the nation," Boyce said. "You are certainly a School of Distinction."
Boyce told students their school is now a model for other schools in the country.
Mark Russell, a member of the Ticonderoga Central School board of education, gave credit to students for achieving the award.
"Our biggest asset and our most important product is our students," he said.