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On the wall inside the lobby of the Oakland Gardens School, a vibrant display of blue outlined why students at PS 203 think their school deserved its classification as a National Blue Ribbon School.
“Our teachers are very bestowed and dedicated to children’s education,” said fifth-grader Vishnu Kumar. “Being part of PS 203 makes me feel ebullient and jovial.”
Kumar’s advanced use of vocabulary offered a glimpse as to why the Oakland Gardens School filled up its auditorium last Thursday to celebrate its classification as one of the five Blue Ribbon schools in New York City. Students at the school put on an elaborate musical and theatrical performance, packed with blue-themed songs and dances to songs such as “Blue Moon” and “Blue Suede Shoes” to an audience full of school and city officials as well as their peers.
The National Blue Ribbon Award honors both public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are made in student achievement. In the award’s 30-year history, the honor has been bestowed upon more than 7,000 schools throughout the country.
“This is a team effort,” city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott told the packed room to open up the celebration ceremony. “It’s not just the principal, not just the teachers, not just the parent coordinators, not just the students and not just the parents. It’s all these people who helped win this prestigious award.”
The school’s dedication to the arts was on full display in the ceremony’s opening performance in which students and faculty members sang songs and acted out scenes to explain the significance of the award.
Principal Carole Nussbaum, who has led PS 203 for about two decades, said she could not be more proud to be at the helm of the school, which was one of only 269 schools nationwide to receive the Blue Ribbon distinction for overall excellence in 2012.
“Our school won this award because we performed at a very high level,” Nussbaum said. “We will continue to work hard to be a school of excellence.”
Only one other school in Queens received the distinction this year in nearby Floral Park, where small PS 191 also celebrated its new blue status,
Joining in on the celebrations were several political figures, including city Comptroller John Liu, City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and state Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
Liu, who also attended PS 203 as a boy and graduated as the school’s valedictorian, said it was a great day for the students, parents and staff.
“To be nationally recognized is no small feat and they deserve every ounce of congratulations,” Liu said. “This shows what our schools in New York City are capable of.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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