Sept. 15 was a banner day for Sunflower Elementary.
One day earlier the U.S. Department of Education announced that the school was one of five in the state to receive the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award.
Sunflower students and staff gathered in the school’s commons area to celebrate their accomplishment.
Superintendent Bill Gilhaus told students they should be proud of the fact that their school was one of five in the state to win the award.
“That makes you a very special school with very special students,” he said.
Gilhaus also gave credit to teachers and support staff.
“This is a school where people care about you deeply,” he told students.
The Blue Ribbon award is the highest honor the U.S. Department of Education bestows upon individual schools.
Sunflower is the first school in the Gardner Edgerton School District to receive the honor.
The award honors public schools that “make significant progress in closing the achievement gap, recognizing those schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and have dramatically improved student performances to high levels in reading and mathematics,” according to a press release from the school district.
Sunflower was nominated for scoring in the top 15 percent in the state on reading and math assessments.
“What an amazing thing you have done,” Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta told students before proclaiming Sept. 16 as “Sunflower Elementary School Day.”
Principal Dustin Mortenson said Sunflower students would be honored during the Sept. 16 football game at GEHS.
He added that the Kansas City Royals were honoring Sunflower by donating 500 tickets for a game the following week.
The assembly ended with each grade level performing a “cheer” followed by a skit performed by teachers demonstrating the six pillars of character.