Friday was a time to celebrate in Tidioute.
Members of the community and several local dignitaries joined the staff and students at Tidioute Community Charter School in celebrating the school's national Blue Ribbon Award during an afternoon assembly.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Blue Ribbon Award "recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement."
Times Observer photos by Josh Cotton
State Rep. Kathy Rapp presents Tidioute Community Charter School Principal Dr. Doug Allen with a citation from the House of Representatives in recognition of the school’s Blue Ribbon award.
State Sen. Scott Hutchinson speaks during the Friday afternoon assembly.
There were 286 schools recognized across the country. Tidioute was one of them.
The award has two categories: Exemplary high performing and exemplary improving. TCCS was recognized in the second category meaning the school had at least 40 percent of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
State Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-65) presented a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to the school during the assembly.
Acknowledging that schools across the state face challenging education issues, Rapp said, "This school is going to continue to educate students for tomorrow." Speaking to the students, she encouraged them by saying, "You can do whatever you set your mind to."
State Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21) was also in attendance and noted, "It is always a pleasure, and probably the best part of my job, to recognize the pursuit of excellence and in this case we have the achievement of excellence."
TCCS Principal Dr. Doug Allen said that the assembly was "planned to recognize the students and community of Tidioute." He thanked all the employees "for making the charter school what it is."
School Trustee Ron Weller gave an optimistic view of the future. "Our finances are in excellent condition here," he said. "We have no debt." He added that the school actually has a surplus and is working on a 10-year master plan.
"Lost in all of this is what makes TCCS special," teacher Mike Patterson said. "We really are like a family... Students aren't just bodies in a seat. We believe in teaching to the entire student."
He spoke of the school's emphasis on experiential learning and said that they want students to recognize the importance of where they came from but also see that there is more out there.
A recognition ceremony for all Blue Ribbon winners will be held on Nov. 18-19 in Washington D.C. TCCS representatives will be in attendance.