A theme of pride and patriotism reigned su-preme at Crescent Elementary School’s No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon award ceremony Thursday.

Last fall, Crescent was selected as one of West Virginia’s three NCLB Blue Ribbon Schools — the highest national honor in education.

Principal Danny Pettry, along with speech teacher Stephanie Anderson and first-grade teachers Mary Haynes and Pat Hudson, attended a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in November, where Crescent, along with 294 other schools, was officially named a Blue Ribbon School.

Thursday’s ceremony, while not in the nation’s capital, was just as important, as central office staff, board of education members, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and, most importantly, Crescent’s faculty, staff and students all participated.

Rahall, whose two children attended Crescent, praised everyone involved with the school for receiving the high honor.

“I want to congratulate you on this well-deserved honor,” he said. “I have two children who are Chipmunks (Crescent’s nickname), so I share this pride with you.”

The congressman presented the school with copies of the U.S. Constitution to distribute to all students, and told the youngsters to take pride in their award and in everything they do.

“We are the best country in the world,” he said. “(What makes us the best is) spirit of love for our country, love of God, love for our state and love for our country. Don’t let anyone tear any of that down.”

Raleigh County assistant schools superintendent Janet Lilly and board members Richard Snuffer II and Pat Waddell presented Pettry with a plaque commending everyone involved with the school’s success and recognition.

“Bricks and mortar don’t make a school,” Snuffer said. “I could take this same staff and students and put you anywhere and you’d excel. Be proud of yourself, that you are from Crescent and what you’ve done. This will stick with you for the rest of your life.”

Like in all good award shows, there was a brief break for a musical number as the patriotic tune “You’re a Grand Old Flag” was performed by Crescent’s flag-waving fourth-graders

Following the song, Pettry thanked the students, but told them he expected them to keep up with what made them a Blue Ribbon School in the first place.

“You’ve made me very proud,” Pettry told the fourth-grade students with a sly smile. “On at least two more occasions this year, you’re going to make me proud again — when you take the fourth-grade writing assessment test and the WESTEST. I expect the same great performance.”

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