FT. THOMAS, Ky. — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 362 schools nationally on Thursday, based on their overall academic excellence; among them was St. Thomas School, in Ft. Thomas, Ky.
Now officially a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School, students and staff alike celebrated the recognition Thursday afternoon.
The school watched in suspense as name after name scrolled on the television alphabetically, in order of state, until Kentucky came up.
"The room was almost shaking -- it was super loud!" said eighth grader Zoe Kincaid.
This is the second year the school has earned the coveted title of Blue Ribbon School, but the first year under current principal, Deborah Flamm.
"I think it was just overwhelming to me to see that they really do understand that we won this award," said Flamm. "We have a lot to offer, not just in academics...We are in the top 15% of the national scores, but we have other programs as well."
Thousands of schools apply for this recognition each year, but DeVos' office narrowed the field to just 362 schools awarded with the accreditation in 2019.
"I knew we all tried hard and took it as seriously as possible, so it made us feel like our work paid off," said Kincaid.
The only other school in the Tri-State to receive the title was Boyd E. Smith Elementary School in Milford, Ohio.
"This is an incredible honor for the Milford School District and Boyd E. Smith Elementary School," said Nancy House, superintendent of Milford Schools said in a statement on the district's website. "Principal Doug Savage and the entire staff have created an exceptional learning environment for students, one that is challenging, innovative, and joyful."