Ocean Air School in Carmel Valley receives 2013 National Blue Ribbon School Award

By Karen Billing

Ocean Air School celebrated being named a National Blue Ribbon Award recipient on Friday, Dec. 6, an award that recognizes exemplary academic achievement, honoring schools with students performing at the highest of levels.

As Del Mar Union School District Superintendent Holly McClurg said, the most exciting thing about the day was seeing all the faces of the children who were responsible for the honor. While the ceremony included words from McClurg, Principal Ryan Stanley and Del Mar Union School President Doug Rafner and board member Scott Wooden, the best words came from the students themselves, speaking on what makes the school so great.

“Ocean Air is the best school because all of the teachers are so nice and I have so many friends here. Ocean Air feels like my second home,” said first grader Luke Renner to an appreciative blacktop crowd.

“Ocean Air rocks,” said second grader Holly Thorpe, who said that every time she sees Principal Ryan Stanley he is smiling, all of the students are thoughtful and kind, and that she feels safe at the school.

Third grader Victor De Oliveira said he likes the big playground.

“This school is amazing,” said sixth grader Daniel Baker, praising his “engaging” teachers. “No one here is a mean, boring old teacher.”

The award was a big accomplishment for the school and district as Ocean Air School was one of only 15 schools in the state to be named a Blue Ribbon School in 2013, and one of only 286 in the entire country.

“Ocean Air is truly a very special place,” said Principal Ryan Stanley, who proved his student Holly right by being all smiles. “I’m so proud of our teachers’ and staff’s undying efforts to provide the very best for our children every day. Parents, I thank you for sending us the most amazing children. Students, we are so proud of your hard work in and out of the classroom — I’m proud of the people you’re becoming and how you never settle for anything less than your personal best. I eagerly look forward to the future as I know the best is yet to come.”

Ocean Air was represented at a November award ceremony in Washington DC by the school’s teacher of the year, Rebecca Jones. She brought home a plaque and a Blue Ribbon flag to wave proudly on campus

Jones said Ocean Air has a huge responsibility now as a Blue Ribbon School because they have to be leaders and serve as a model for all schools. She feels the school is more than up to the task.

“The magic ingredient is we love learning together,” Jones said.