Del Mar Hills celebrates Blue Ribbon School honor

Del Mar Hills Academy students with Superintendent Holly McClurg, former Principal Julie Lerner, current Principal Andrea Sleet and Assistant Superintendent Shelley Petersen.

Del Mar Hills Academy is a national Blue Ribbon School, the highest award a school can achieve.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes outstanding schools that demonstrate academic excellence and high learning standards as well as create a safe and welcoming environment where students successfully demonstrate they are college-ready. Blue Ribbon Schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or national tests. Just 326 schools across the country were honored this year and Del Mar Hills was one of three in San Diego County and 30 in the state.

At Del Mar Hills, students are college crazy, they are energized and engaged in meaningful learning and they are SurfRider proud.

Del Mar Hills students celebrate with cake.
(Karen Billing)

A Del Mar Union School District team accepted the award in Washington D.C. in November and at a school assembly on Jan. 24, the school unveiled its new Blue Ribbon seal above the stage in the multi-use room and presented a new Blue Ribbon flag. Students wore bright blue Blue Ribbon Proud t-shirts and sang “DMHA is a Blue Ribbon School” to the tune of “YMCA”. After the assembly they were treated to cake in the courtyard.

Former Principal Julie Lerner (now the principal at Carmel Del Mar) returned to celebrate SurfRiders with Superintendent Holly McClurg, DMUSD board president Erica Halpern and current Hills Principal Andrea Sleet.

“The Blue Ribbon Award is an award that belongs to our entire school community,” Lerner said, complimenting parents and families who partner with staff and forge a bond between home and school that allows the Hills to be so successful. She also honored the staff for working together as a team, celebrating strengths but never resting on their laurels in an effort to continually improve.

Most importantly, she applauded the students for all their hard work.

“SurfRiders, you guys launch into learning with fearlessness that is second to none. It’s been an absolute privilege for me to watch you persevere and grow academically and socially. You are an incredible group of young people whose curiosity, creativity and desire to seek out real-world problems and generate solutions takes my breath away,” Lerner told the students. “You. Are. Awesome.”