West Shore nominated for Blue Ribbon

Julia Levy, Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Education has named West Shore as one of 15 Florida schools nominated for the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Award. It has been chosen in the high performing school category, which recognizes institutions with the highest student achievement on FCAT reading and mathematics tests.

“I worked here in 2004 when we won it for the first time,” Assistant Principal Jim Melia said. “I really think that here at West Shore we can earn it again. I know that the application process is pretty complex and takes up a lot of time. A lot of factors play into which school is chosen. We sent in our application this week.”

Schools must go through two rounds of review to earn the reward. Once these are completed, schools must meet yearly standards on the latest state assessments in order to receive the award.

Melia said that if West Shore is chosen for the award, Principal Rick Fleming will accept it in Washington D.C. Awards will be announced in September.

“I am very honored that I attend a school that is nominated,” freshman Kaitlin Inganna said. “I love West Shore to the fullest extent, being able to play high school sports and at the same time work hard in academics. I am glad that West Shore is finally being honored for their excellency.”

After being screened for completeness, accuracy and potential eligibility issues, applications are reviewed for compliance with eligibility criteria.

“I think [the nomination] shows the intelligence and hard work of the majority of the students here,” eighth-grader Brian P. said. “I honestly don’t care what people say [about West Shore], that we’re not as well-rounded as other schools. It’s a school of choice, so only the most academic kids choose to go here.”

West Shore has not received the distinction since 2004.

Freshman Meaghan Pickles contributed to this report.