Fremont Elementary School celebrated its Blue Ribbon School Award last week with an open house and ceremony.
"Tonight’s celebration showcases what can be accomplished when a school community fosters success," said Scott Bleck, district administrator of the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.
Fremont Elementary is one of eight schools in the state to be named a Blue Ribbon School and among 305 nationwide to receive the honor.
During the school’s Nov. 17 celebration, Elementary Principal Kirk Delwiche said, "We can’t do what we do without ‘we the people.’"
Earlier, he had referenced the trip to Washington, D.C. that he and second-grade teacher Kathy Timm made last week to accept the award on behalf of the school, district and communities.
While there, Delwiche visited the National Archives, where he saw the Constitution of the United States.
"How fitting, I thought, that we the people of Weyauwgega and Fremont would come together to celebrate something that could not have been done without others."
Assistant State Superintendent Lynette Russell told those who filled the school’s gym that they are proof that what takes place in the school is worthy of recognition.
State Superintendent Tony Evers nominated the eight schools based on criteria in two categories: dramatically improving schools and high performing schools.
Fremont Elementary was nominated on the basis of consistently high scores.
"I read the application," Russell said. "It shows an integrated approach.
She said the school is similar to the elementary school her own children attended, where the staff knew every student.
"I sense that same family environment in your school, as well," Russell said.
A total of 150 students – from prekindergarten through fifth grade – attend the school. The teaching staff, including Title I and specials, totals about a dozen.
Russell congratulated the students, families and teaching staff on being an excellent school.
She also commented on the writing students had done about being a Blue Ribbon School, saying a student named Bailey had written, "The teachers expect us to get our work done."
Russell said that is what it takes.
The students’ written words and blue ribbons decorated the hallway of the school.
"Thank you, Fremont Elementary, for putting your children first," Russell said. "This distinguished award belongs to everybody."
Leah Lechleiter-Luke, a Teaching Ambassador Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education, said the school is a model for the rest of the nation.
"Thank you for setting an example for schools in Wisconsin and schools in the nation," she said.
Marlene Mielke is U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s regional representative.
"Most of you don’t know," she said, "that I grew up in Weyauwega. Coming home to congratulate a school pleases me immensely."
She also said that those who know the senator know how important education is to him. The annual events he hosts for the students and teachers chosen to receive Kohl Scholarships and Kohl Fellowships are among his happiest moments of the year, Mielke said.
State. Sen. Luther Olsen also congratulated the school on being a Blue Ribbon School.
As he travels throughout his district, he often notices the signs that welcome to communities. Those signs often note what year a particular high school won a state football championship or state softball championship.
"For years, we have honored sports teams," Olsen said. "But having a Blue Ribbon School is really what it’s all about."
Fremont Village President Dan Sambs congratulated the school for being a high-performing school at a time when there has been reduced funding for schools.
Delwiche thanked past and present students and staff, parents and the board of education for their roles in the award.
Being a Blue Ribbon School does not mean the school will rest on its laurels.
"We will go forward," he said.
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