The U.S. Department of Education announced on Sept. 7 that St. Athanasius School is designated as a “2012 National Blue Ribbon School.” 

St. Athanasius School is one of 269 schools nationwide and 21 in Illinois to receive the Blue Ribbon designation this year. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools “based on their overall academic excellence.”  The program is also part of the Department of Education’s effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. 

“We are thrilled to have won this award. The Department of Education has confirmed what we’ve known for years – St. A’s is one of the outstanding schools not only in this area, but in the nation,” said Susan Castagna, principal of St. Athanasius. 

“During the past five years, St. A’s has created new programs and learning experiences for our students that are state-of-the-art in education,” she added. 

St. Athanasius was specifically cited in the program’s category of “Exemplary High Performing Schools.” 

 “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a prepared statement. “Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”