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Two from Forsyth named Blue Ribbon Schools

SOUTH FORSYTH — Two schools in Forsyth County — one private and the other public — have been named a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Pinecrest Academy, a private Catholic school, and South Forsyth Middle, part of the Forsyth County public school system, made the list for the first time.

At Pinecrest, the announcement was made Wednesday afternoon during a school assembly that included cheerleaders and the drumline.

“Only one preschool-through-12th in the state of Georgia met those standards, and that’s Pinecrest Academy,” Head of School Paul Parker told the gathering.

“That means we didn’t just do well in our lower school, or just in our middle school, or just in our high school. The reason there’s only one school K-through-12 that did it is because getting the students whether they are 3 years old or 18 … to hit those high standards.”

Sandy Tinsley, principal at South, credited the award to the effort put in by the middle school’s faculty, students, administrators and parents.

“It’s a great honor,” she said. “It’s a payoff of several years of very hard work. I’m just thrilled for everyone involved.”

According to Tinsley, the school is committed to teaching students at the highest level.

“We’re just all very focused on learning, and the teachers work very diligently to make sure that all students are working at the highest capability, “she said. “We don’t take failure for an option. We hold the students accountable for their work.”

Back at Pinecrest, the most exciting part for most students likely was Parker’s reward for doing so well.

“I have to do something that only the head of schools can do, and that is get rid of your homework tonight,” Parker said. “You just got a pass from me. So if your teacher tries to collect it tomorrow, even if I’m your teacher, tell them to come talk to me.”

Parker also made Wednesday and Thursday, as well as the last Friday of every month for the rest of the school year “Blue Ribbon Dress Down Days.” This allows students to wear approved clothes other than their uniforms, with one condition.

“It’s a free dress day, but if you choose to come in free dress everything has to be some shade of blue,” Parker said. “We get this award for the entire year.”

Parker told the students that since they didn’t have homework that night, they should use that time to thank their parents for all their hard work in helping the school excel.

“I want you to go home. I look you to go to your mom and your dad in the eye, and I want you to say ‘thank you,’ Parker said. “They make the sacrifices and they support you and send you to this school, and they give you a chance to be a part of something like that. Use that time and thank them.”