This year, “The School in the Gardens” was named a National Blue Ribbon School. At a November 20th ceremony in the Charles Bechtold Auditorium at the Russell Place school, staff members received an Outstanding Achievement Award and every student was presented with a special medallion.
“The National Blue Ribbon flag is a symbol of exemplary teaching and learning,” said Principal Monique Paniagua. “Today is our opportunity as a school community to celebrate and recognize the dedicated and hard work of all of our staff, teachers, families, and students.”
Only about 350 schools nationwide are named National Blue Ribbon schools annually.
“I always say that coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together is success” said Seiw Kong, District 28 acting superintendent. “We want to be here for the interests of our children, and I believe in my heart that they have such potential to shine.”
A few years ago, members of the student council were renamed PALS or “Positive Action Leaders.” Among them are Samih Chowdhury and Sophia Khaimov.
“We dedicate ourselves to nurture in a well-rounded intellectually stimulating environment while having a love for learning.,” said Chowdhury. “We have been working with the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence for a few years, and now students seem more engaged in their potential.”
“P.S. 101 is everyone’s dream school,” added Khaimov. “P.S. 101 is family and has been an amazing experience thanks to the staff and parents.”
Awards were presented by Paniagua and Parents’ Association President Nancy Llamas, and a cast-iron plaque with the official seal of the National Blue Ribbon School was unveiled.
“It serves as a constant reminder of the teachers’ incredible and distinguished service,” said Llamas. “This award clearly highlights the progress that we as a community have aspired for and worked hard to achieve.”
P.S. 101 is built on tradition, especially for first-grade teacher Melissa Sawicki-Mallien. Her mother Margot attended the ceremony.
“My sister and I attended this elementary school in the 1980s and my mother was PA president,” she said. “I love when I see old friends who attended P.S. 101 and realize I have their child in my class.”
“It is a huge accomplishment for Forest Hills to have a school that is fulfilling the dream of American education,” said Svetlana Racklin, whose son Evan is in the first grade. “The teachers that provide a creative and challenging learning environment, along with the parents’ involvement and tireless support, give a wonderful opportunity for the students to flourish.”
For Danny Obadia, P.S. 101 is a symbol of love, attention, and dedication for each and every child.
“Our second grade daughter has thrived in this community both academically and emotionally,” he said. “The sense of pride and responsibility to her fellow students and community is something that she will continue way beyond her years at P.S. 101.”