Celebrations sparked by the Oct. 1 announcement that five schools of the Trenton Diocese were on this year's list of 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools culminated joyfully Dec. 5 in a festive Recognition Ceremony hosted by the State Board of Education in its Trenton headquarters.
The event drew educators and administrators of public and nonpublic schools from around New Jersey to River View Plaza where a range of awards – from State Teachers of the Year to Visionary Principals to the Blue Ribbon scholars – were handed out by Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, state commissioner of education.
In the rows occupied by the 15 representatives of the Trenton Diocese schools honored: St. Catharine, Spring Lake; St. Dominic, Brick; St. James, Red Bank; St. Jerome, West Long Branch and St. Leo the Great, Lincroft. And there were broad smiles all around as clergy, religious and lay educators and administrators waited to be called up to receive plaques and have photos taken for posterity.
During brief breaks, JoAnn Tier, diocesan superintendent of schools, spoke for all as she shared the elation of this year’s achievement. “This is the first time that five of our schools have been named Blue Ribbon Schools,” she said. “It’s very exciting.” she said noting that of the 349 schools tapped for the distinction this year, only 49 are nonpublic schools.
“Nationwide, that is one-tenth of the schools named and five of those schools are in the Diocese of Trenton. It’s tough to even compete,” Tier said. “And when you think of all that has gone into this honor, it’s amazing. Just an amazing achievement.”