REaCH recognized for Blue Ribbon Award

Apr. 15, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

"I congratulate you and appreciate the model you are, not only for us but for the nation as well," Superintendent Dr. Janet Mason said to staff and students of Rutherford Early College High School (REaCH) during a special reception on Monday.

REaCH was honored for being named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School during the reception at The Foundation at Isothermal Community College (ICC). Students were invited to enjoy refreshments and several speakers congratulated them on the school's accomplishment.

"It's quite an honor. We are very proud of the students and they have risen to the challenge early college brings," Principal Jeremiah McCluney said. "We are very proud of what they've accomplished."

REaCH was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in September 2013. It is one of only six North Carolina public or private schools to be recognized for this honor. The program recognizes schools in one of two categories. REaCH was deemed a "Exemplary High Performing" which means it is among North Carolina's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments.

"The early colleges started back in 2005 and REaCH was a pioneer. The New York Times said the early colleges are a model for the nation. It ups the rigor, it excellerates learning, it saves money and it prepares students for the 21st century economy," ICC President Waltor Dalton said to the REaCH students. "Not only does REaCH lead in the nation with one-third of the early colleges in the nation, but you are the leader of the best and that is what is so significant."

For the reception, students mingled with members of the Rutherford County Schools Board of Education and ICC Board of Trustees. Others who attended were Rep. Mike Hager, Senator Ralph Hise, Rutherfordton Mayor Jimmy Dancy, County Manager Carl Classen and Forest City Town Manager John Condrey.

"Most of all we thank and congratulate you all (REaCH students and staff) who work everyday to make this such a great school. You have become the model which we envisioned," John Mark Bennett, chairman of the RCS Board of Education said. "As we look to continue to collaborate with ICC in the future on joint endeavors, we are excited that you have set a high mark and continue to do great work at REaCH."