By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
The red carpet and banners greeted everyone as they entered Kingsolver Elementary School’s gym Friday as staff, parents and students celebrated the school being named a National Blue Ribbon School.
Last year Laura Gibson, the school’s principal, was notified that they would receive the esteemed award.
“(This) is one of the most historical days of our school,” said Gibson. “(There are) approximately 130,000 schools in the United States (and) this school year 286 received this award. That is how special our school, teachers, staff, students (and) community is.”
Brig. Gen. Peggy Combs, the commander of Cadet Command and Fort Knox, said receiving the award was a team effort from parents, students, administrators and the PTO.
During her speech Combs asked the students to give themselves a pat on the back for doing such a great job.
“When I got here about two weeks ago I said Fort Knox students are gold,” Combs said. “Ladies and gentlemen, America’s treasures (are) sitting right there.”
Combs also asked that teachers and administrators continue to develop the students’ potential because doing so will greatly benefit the community.
“Congratulations, Kingsolver, (I’m) so proud to have you as Fort Knox gold,” she said.
Dr. Frank Calvano, the Department of Defense Education Activity Kentucky district superintendent, said the Blue Ribbon is awarded nationally to about 300 schools for either exemplary achievement or significant achievement. And Kingsolver demonstrated exemplary across all subgroups and all content areas.
He pointed out that exemplary is awarded when the students in the most recent year placed in the top 15 percent of DoDEA for reading and math. The school’s scores have been special. He said students score in the 50 percentile, but Kingsolver students scored higher than an average school.
“Those scores are uniquely special,” said Calvano. “In all my years, I’ve never seen scores that special.”
“Today our students are superstars for the day. That’s why we have the red carpet,” explained Gibson.
During the celebration some of the students read essays and one student said, “We are a Blue Ribbon school because we work hard… I am proud to be a Blue Ribbon student.”
Another student said, “I have fun learning and reading. I like my teachers and I like to learn from my teachers.”
The general consensus among the students who read essays was Kingsolver is a great school with the best teachers.
Billy Lyon, a former administrator at Kingsolver, was one of the special guests at the celebration. He recalled a story when he was running down the hall and a student said, “Mr. Lyons, Kingsolver kids don’t do that.” Lyons then began to walk.
“I left here in 2006… I worked at Fort Knox for 35 years and it was a true pleasure to serve the Fort Knox community,” said Lyons. “When I left in 2006, we had the highest test scores ever in the 16 years I was here. No matter if you are an adult or kid, you are al-ways a Kingsolver kid.”
Col. T.J. Edwards, the garrison commander, said it takes a community to be a Blue Ribbon school.
“(This is) the highest honor an American school can achieve,” said Edwards. “We say at Fort Knox ‘Strength starts here.’ Thank you for showing the world strength truly does start here.”
Even though winning shows Kingsolver’s teachers are doing an exceptional job at teaching their students, winning the award was also bittersweet because Kingsolver is slated to close at the end of the school year.
“My hope is (that) you keep the Kingsolver spirit alive forever,” an emotional Gibson said before concluding the ceremony.
Third Graders Median National Percentile
CONTENT SCORES 2009-2013
Total Score 70/61/66/80/86
Social Studies 71/76/72/78/79