Six Oklahoma schools are now recipients of one of the most prestigious national education awards. Edmond Doyle Elementary in McAlester is one of them.
Principal Kathy Hunt said their motto is simple: "We work hard and we play hard." Now that hard work is being recognized on a national level, for the second time.
Between their buffalo mascot painted in the hallway, the monarch butterfly waystation outside, and a pet bunny named Benjamin in a first grade classroom, there is a lot to see at Edmond Doyle Elementary. But it is the potential that educators see in their students that helped them earn the title of a "Blue Ribbon School."
"There's something special about Edmond Doyle kids because we instill a work ethic,” Hunt said.
Edmond Doyle was recognized this week for being an "Exemplary High-Performing School," based on state testing from the 2018-2019 school year.
Hunt said there is so much more to the 17-page application, including sharing the school's philosophy and goals.
"Mainly, you know, for a Title 1 school, it's showing that you can help. Just because someone might not have a lot of money, just because someone might have a lot of adversities in life, doesn't mean you can't learn,” she said. “You can learn no matter what."
"The people make it special. It's the principal with her leadership and trying to establish that culture. It's the buy in from everybody that walks in the door,” Superintendent Randy Hughes said.
Walking down the hallways, a plaque serves as a reminder of the hard work recognized in 2014, the first time the school received the same award.
"I always tell the kids, 'You're not just one of the best in town, you're not just one of the best in the state, you're one of the best in the United States so you need to act accordingly,” Hunt said.
Below is a list of Oklahoma schools that received the honor this year:
Brink Junior High School, Moore Public Schools
Chisolm Middle School, Chisholm Public Schools (Enid)
Edmond Doyle Elementary School, McAlester Public Schools
Hoover Elementary School, Enid Public Schools
Laverne Elementary School, Laverne Public Schools
Pioneer School, Pioneer Public School (Chickasha)
Across the nation, 325 schools were named “National Blue Ribbon Schools” this year.