RALEIGH COUNTY, WV – Gov. Jim Justice greeted students, teachers, and other leaders at Hollywood Elementary School near Beckley today, holding an all-student assembly to honor the school for being selected as a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.
“To be a National Blue Ribbon School, it’s unbelievable, that’s just all there is to it,” Gov. Justice said. “You are so deserving because we know just how good of a school this is.”
Being named as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon any school in the country.
This year, Hollywood Elementary School in Raleigh County was one of only three schools in West Virginia – and just 362 schools across the entire nation – to be recognized as a Blue Ribbon school.
“We are really proud of Hollywood today,” Gov. Justice said. “Right here, at this school, you’re instilling the right confidence in our kids, and they’re giving their schoolwork everything they’ve got all the time. It’s really positive stuff.”
The recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
“We would love to have more and more of these all across the state, I wish we had 35 Blue Ribbon schools,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve still got a lot of challenges in West Virginia, but we’ve got a lot of good going on too.
“I’ve been all over the state at schools because I love kids,” Gov. Justice said. “And I haven’t met a kid who can’t be what they want to be in our framework. We need to tell all our kids just that: you can fulfill your dreams in West Virginia if you just have enough passion and get-up to try to achieve.”
The other West Virginia schools to receive this distinction for 2019 include Greenmont Elementary School in Wood County and West Teays Elementary School in Putnam County.
All three Blue Ribbon honorees in West Virginia will be celebrated by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on November 14 and 15, 2019, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“To have Hollywood be a part of this is super special because my own kids – Jay and Jill – they both went to this school,” Gov. Justice said. “We lived right up the road. We spent many years of our lives here.
“It’s an incredible school, it was an incredible school then, and it might be even better now.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is in its 37th year and has recognized more than 9,000 schools since its inception. Each year, as many as 420 schools may be nominated for this distinction from all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virginia Island, the Department of Defense Education Activities and the Bureau of Indian Education.