iluna@valleytowncrier.com

MISSION - “Home of the Achievers” is fitting for the Mission elementary school Escobar/Rios as it celebrated its National Blue Ribbon award Thursday, Nov. 7.

The school was one of 26 schools in the state of Texas and one of 362 schools in the nation to receive the national award by the U.S. Department of Education. The Blue Ribbon recognizes public and private schools’ progress in academics and closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

After waiting almost a year, the elementary school will officially receive its award on Nov. 14 in Washington D.C.

“I received a call last [December] from the Texas Education Agency in Austin and every time this person calls, I know it’s good news,” said Dr. Carol Perez, superintendent of schools. “And the [TEA representative] said ‘We just want you to know that we’ve been looking at your school for the past five years and deserves the National Blue Ribbon award’ and I said ‘Oh my goodness! I have to call the campus principal, I have to call the school board and I have to call our executive leadership team!’” Perez said with excitement explaining to the students at Thursday’s ceremony.

Principal Blanca I. Lopez thanked Escobar/Rios students and teachers for making history in Mission ISD, Mission, TX and Washington D.C.

“I can truly share that this is definitely a highlight in my career and I venture to say that it is [Escobar/Rios educators] too. I commend you for your hard work and remind you of the importance of your contribution as an educator you play in the future of our students,” Lopez said.

Thursday’s celebration also received a resolution presented by Texas State Representative, Sergio Munoz Jr. on behalf of the state of Texas and House of Representatives. The resolution read in part:

“The school has become a top-performing campus in recent years earning high marks not only this year but in many years prior in the areas of: student achievement, school progress and closing those achievement gaps. For as through the hard work and perseverance, the teachers and students of Escobar/Rios Elementary School have established a record of excellence and their outstanding efforts have been recognized with the Blue Ribbon school award now, therefore, be that the Escobar/Rios Elementary School be congratulated on its election as a 2019 National Blue Ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education and that all those involved in the school be extended sincere best wishes for the future.”

The ceremony was followed by Mission HS Eagles cheerleaders, drumline and mariachi performing for students and faculty. Escobar/Rios’ choir also performed with a dedicated song on the school’s achievement.

The school opened its doors in August 2008 named after Hilda C. Escobar and Alicia C. Rios, educating Pre-K to fifth-graders to what is “Home of the Achievers”.

“Today you can truly say that as a campus we live and stand by that commitment - to make sure every student is an achiever,” Lopez said.

The school’s achievement in earning the National Blue Ribbon award proved that hard work does pay off.