Butler Junior High celebrates its Blue Ribbon
Oak Brook's Butler Junior High recently celebrated its National Blue Ribbon Award at an all-school assembly.
"This is a big deal," said Julie Ewart from the U.S. Department of Education after asking students how many schools they thought were in the state and nation. She then told them out of 4,500 schools in Illinois, Butler was the only junior high awarded and one of 13 in the state given the honor.
"You are a role model of excellence for the entire nation," she said.
In a video shown at the assembly, students were asked why they thought the school won and noted things like "the students give 100 percent," and "it's a tight-knit community where everyone tries his or her hardest."
To show the reason behind the award, another video showed Principal Amy Read in fast motion running from classroom to classroom, hunting for the award. Finally, she landed in Building and Grounds Director Bob Jakupi's office, who told her, "The award is all around us."
Indeed, the reason behind the award is everyone and more than just test scores, said Superintendent Heidi Wennstrom, noting that it's a collective effort of staff, community, parents and the hard work of students. She urged teachers especially to "not let the moment pass without being reflective on the good that you have accomplished as a team."
Board President Alan Hanzlik echoed the statement. "I've come to realize the staff (members) here are second to none. You can see their dedication. You can feel their dedication."
Read said the great honor brings with it great responsibility.
"A responsibility for all of us to continue the great academic tradition of Butler Junior High School and for all of us to maintain high standards in and outside of the classroom," she said.
She urged students to thank teachers, parents, staff members and classmates who help them achieve.
Finally, Butler Junior High teacher Jen Janis, who with Read, formally accepted the award earlier this month in Washington, D.C., described highlights of the trip. She also pointed to a scroll given to each student at the assembly. It was a letter of congratulations from President Barack Obama.
"Pull it out and remind yourselves of how special this really is," Janis told them.