West Shore gains Blue Ribbon three-peat (with video)


Rosellen Rodriguez, Staff Writer

West Shore was named the 2018 National Blue Ribbon School Oct. 1, one of only four high schools in Florida to earn the elite designation this year. This marks the third time the school has won the award, making it the only high school in Florida to win the title three times.

In order to qualify, students must be top performers in the state in assessments, including English and math. Additionally, the school must serve student populations of at least 40 percent from disadvantaged backgrounds. The award celebrates the school’s overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. 

“Words cannot begin to describe how proud I am of our entire school community of students, teachers and parents,” principal Rick Fleming said. “To win the award three times under the new criteria that changed in 2002, and the only high school to do so, puts us in an elite company by ourselves. I’m honored to be the principle here at West Shore.”

History teacher Kirk Murphy, who has taught at the school since its opening in 1998, said the award exemplifies what the original body of twelve worked to create in the school’s founding. 

“The fact that we get this award and have received it three times, it speaks highly to everything we have tried to accomplish,” Murphy said. “I think it really is that concept of excellence achieved and that’s what we’ve done.”

Senior Jacob Kent is content that the school is receiving the recognition it deserves due to the students’ work ethic. 

“All the students work extremely hard both academically and [in extracurricular activities],” Kent said. “The number of times we have won the blue ribbon is just a testament to the environment that our teachers and faculty create for us.”