LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
The national Blue Ribbon Award was given to 269 schools across the country this year. Out of that number, five were given in the state of Louisiana, including the T.S. Cooley Elementary school in Lake Charles.
The pledge in a third grade classroom at T.S. Cooley reads that students will be the very best that they can be and now that work has paid off with a national award given by the United States Department of Education.
"We found out on Friday that we had been selected," said Fritzi Fralick, principal.
Fralick has served as the principal at Cooley for the past 17 years. She said the award means a lot to the school community.
"I'm just very proud of the faculty and the parents and our students," said Fralick. "We work together as a team to make sure the students are enjoying what they're doing and are committed to learning."
Through rigorous coursework and classroom structure, teachers at Cooley said the students are held to high expectations and often times meet and exceed them, which justifies the award, they said.
"Our motto here is we will work to make a difference," explained fifth grade teacher, Kristen Orndoff. "That really shows our students that your work really does make a difference."
Fralick said it's also the work done outside of the walls of Cooley that ensure high academic achievement.
"Her entire life we have always made sure that she went to educational web sites and she was always reading and she was always interested," said parent of a Cooley student, Renee Stump. "Things were explained to her... just everyday things."
As superintendent of the Calcasieu Parish School system, of which Cooley belongs, Wayne Savoy says the award, which recognizes all of that hard work, is an example of the great things happening with education in Southwest Louisiana.
"We were very excited that we were finally recognized as a school and as a system for the things that we're trying to do for all the students in Calcasieu Parish," Savoy said.
The last time schools in our area were honored with the award was in 2009 at a school in DeRidder and before that, it was at a school in Sulphur in 2008. As a part of this year's award, Fralick and two teachers will travel to Washington, D.C. for an awards luncheon in November.