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Pa. school wins Blue Ribbon

May 28, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Students, teachers and administrators at Chambersburg Area Middle School were riding high Friday after learning that their school was named a National Blue Ribbon School, an honor given to just 172 schools across the country.

"This is pretty big stuff," said Barry L. Purvis, school principal. "The kids were ecstatic. We're all elated. I'm proud to be principal of this school."

Purvis said the award points to the energy and talent that the staff and faculty gives to the school each day.

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"They do what's right for the students who come to this school," he said.

CAMS, the district's only middle school, pulls in students from 18 elementary schools over an area covering 250 square miles, Purvis said. Enrollment is about 1,250 students in grades six and seven.

Purvis and two other school staffers, whom he selects, will receive the award at a White House ceremony in October.

"We'll get to meet the president and the secretary of education," he said.

CAMS beat out more than 40 Pennsylvania schools to win the state title, he said. The only other Franklin County school to submit an entry was Greencastle-Antrim High School.

The competition is open to middle, junior high and high schools, Purvis said.

"They look at everything," he said. "They look at the school climate to see how the students feel about coming to CAMS. They look at programs and what they offer. And they look to see if what we're doing is right for middle school students."

The students were especially elated at the news, he said.

"Academically, they score above average on national achievement tests. They also had to answer questions (during the on-site visit)."

The school was visited March 13 and 14 by Blue Ribbon representative Carroll E. Roberts.

Roberts, in a 22-page report on his visit, said the school writing team "captured the essence of a middle school totally focused on creating and maintaining a safe and secure school environment in which students achieve both academic and personal success. There is an energy and a feeling of respect among the stakeholders that is palpable but difficult to describe at Chambersburg Area Middle School. The visitor realized quickly that the school is truly student-centered."

Edwin H. Sponseller, superintendent of the 8,000-student Chambersburg Area School District, said Friday he was proud that the middle school was honored.

"The school has come a long way since it opened in 1972. This is a fantastic achievement. I hope every member of the community takes the Memorial Day weekend to bask in this accomplishment."

Four schools in Maryland were named Blue Ribbon Schools, including Windsor Knolls Middle School in Ijamsville in Frederick County.

The only West Virginia school to earn recognition was Sherrard Junior High School in Wheeling.

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