By Mark Ambrogi
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School assembled the entire student body and put the school band to work for a pep rally of sorts on Sept. 30.
The occasion wasn’t for one of its athletic programs but to celebrate the announcement that OLMC has been named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Dept. of Education for overall academic excellence. OLMC was one of 50 private schools nationally to receive the award.
“We are excited. This is our first time,” said Sister Mary Emily Knapp, who is in her fourth year as principal. “It’s a long time coming. My predecessors, as principals and administrators, have done a wonderful job leading up to this time in history where we can receive this award, so I’m very grateful to them.”
The award is based on several factors, including student test scores and graduation rates. Schools are awarded for either achieving very high learning standards or making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
“One of the things that makes us stand out is we are a community,” Knapp said. “We are connected to Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish so we are one of the many ministries. So we all work together doing these great things and providing an excellent education for our students. We have a wonderful pastor who supports us. Our parish supports us. Our parents work together, and we make all this happen for God.”
OLMC has approximately 630 students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The national Blue Ribbon program is in its 33rd year.
OLMC will be honored at Department of Education ceremony Nov. 9 and 10 in Washington, D.C.
“Assistant principal Tim Fletcher and I are fortunate to take six teachers with us to celebrate,” Knapp said.
Dr. Marie Williams, superintendent for the Diocese of Lafayette, was on hand for the ceremony.
“It was not a surprise to me because I’ve seen the great things that they do here,” Williams said. “I’ve seen the great academics, the deep faith commitment, the strong community here and the very, very generous culture they have of sharing what they have with others.”