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Reflection of quality

Event: School celebrates federal recognition with festival at park

Posted: November 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.

McGrath Elementary School teachers Jacque Norton, second from left, and Karla Valenzuela, right, paint the faces of Joselyn Sanchez, 5, and Katelyn Bischel, 8, at the school’s Blue Ribbon Festival at Newhall Park on Sunday. Norton is also holding her daughter Emily.

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Working together and working hard are what earned McGrath Elementary School its Blue Ribbon status recently, and on Sunday the school’s teachers, parents and students applied that same work ethic to raise money for a “well-deserved” party.

In September, McGrath Elementary School in Newhall became one of 255 public schools across the country to be named a 2011 Blue Ribbon School.

They deserve a party for their work, said McGrath Assistant Principal Jennifer Gutierrez, and the school needs money for the party.

So the school held a party to raise money for a party.

“We just called everyone and said, ‘Look we’re doing this to raise money to have our students a well-deserved celebration because they earned this high honor,’” Gutierrez said.

More than half of the school showed up at Newhall Park on Sunday — an estimated 350 students — in an effort to have fun raising money for a schoolwide party to celebrate their Blue Ribbon status.

DJ Freddie Lopez waived his fee to support the cause.

The colorful Ballet Folkorico performed at the request of a school parent whose children, Cristian and Elena Martinez-Campbell are dancers with the troupe.

Tables placed end-to-end, measuring at least four car lengths, were covered with scores of pans of homemade food, prepared and served by the parents of McGrath students.

One of those moms serving up food was Melissa Mitchell, whose 6-year-old son Kameron is at McGrath for the first time, in first grade.

The exemplary test scores achieved by McGrath students last year to earn the Blue Ribbon status has set the bar high for students to follow.

“It’s the highest honor a school can get,” Mitchell said. “So, we told Kameron he has big footsteps to follow in.”

Taylor Franz, 10, of the fifth grade, was one of those students who scored extremely high in last year’s testing.

On Sunday, her job was painting faces.
Asked while painting faces about her Blue Ribbon school, she said, “I’m really proud.”

Hovering nearby — equally proud — was her mom, Carrie Franz, a third grade teacher at McGrath.

“I wasn’t surprised at all because we have brilliant students,” she said.

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