Students, faculty and parents were informed during a surprise special assembly in the school’s gymnasium. Located at 555 7th Street (b/t Madison & Monroe), Hoboken Catholic Academy (HCA) serves students from Pre-K through 8th Grade.
“We are a Blue Ribbon School because we have Blue Ribbon teachers and Blue Ribbon staff members,” said Principal Matthew McGrath. Members of the school’s National Junior Honors Society then passed out flowers to all the faculty in attendance.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program was enacted in 1982 to recognize public and private elementary, middle, and high schools on the basis of overall academic excellence. This year, 342 programs were selected as Blue Ribbon Schools.
“There are over 130,000 schools in the United States, and you’re at the top,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, in a video played for the assembly. Hoboken Catholic Academy is one of 50 private or parochial schools that were given the nod this year.
“With this distinction comes great responsibility,” McGrath told his students. “You have to be Blue Ribbon all the time—and you are.”
“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” said DeVos. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”
This remarkable recognition comes just years after the school was forced to relocate its students following extensive flood damage from Superstorm Sandy.
“For those of you who were with us during that time, when our future was in doubt,” said McGrath, “today shows just how far we’ve come.”
McGrath also thanked former HCA Principal Rose Perry, who was on hand to celebrate the phenomenal achievement.
On Nov. 6-7, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with these honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.