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Thursday, October 2, 2014
Shaw Avenue earns national honor
(Page 2 of 3)
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Students and staff at Shaw Avenue School dressed in their new favorite color following the announcement that the school earned a Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education.

Torres noted that Shaw Avenue has gone through some tumultuous times in the past few years, specifically repeated turnover in the principal ranks. However, she said, there have been two constants — Pernick and a devoted teaching staff.

“They have worked very, very hard as a unit to push the children forward,” Torres said. “They’ve never lost sight of what’s important.”

Sue Lipski, a second-grade teacher, is one of those staff members. She has been at Shaw Avenue since 1992, and said it is a place where students comes first. “It’s full of dedicated teachers who love their craft,” Lipski said. “We believe that every student can succeed.”

Rosemary Decker, who co-teaches with Lipski for half of the day, said Shaw Avenue is a place where students learn not only academics, but also how to be good people. Decker said that the school’s character education program is a big part of what makes it a special place.

Lipski and Decker agreed that whenever expectations are raised, the students accept and meet the challenge. They added that the district is innovative, and is often ahead of the trends in education.

After finding out about the award, Jennifer Graham built a blue balloon arch for the main entrance, and children walked beneath it when they arrived at school on Sept. 25. Graham, the mother of a Shaw Avenue second-grader, said it took 230 balloons and three hours to build, but was well worth it.

She and her husband, who both attended the school, said they are glad they send their daughter there. “My daughter is loving school,” Graham said. “She loves her teachers. She’s doing very well.”

PTA President Oneka Chan, who had two children graduate from the school and has two children still there, was understandably excited. “It is such an honor to receive such an accolade,” she said. “Receiving this award is really going to put Shaw Avenue School on the map — and District 30.”

Although the award was presented this year, Shaw Avenue will be a Blue Ribbon School in perpetuity. “It’s ours forever,” Pernick said. “We’re not giving it back.”

“It will be an ongoing reminder of what the possibilities can be for not only Shaw, but for the entire school community,” Stirling added. “We are always striving for excellence.”

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