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Edgeley honored as blue ribbon school

From left, Kirsten Baesler, superintendent of public instruction, Rick Diegel, superintendent of Edgeley Public School, and Gov. Jack Dalrymple hold the plaque presented by the state of North Dakota Tuesday to the school in honor of it being selected a National Blue Ribbon School. (Keith Norman / The Sun)1 / 3
This award was presented to Edgeley Public School by the U.S. Department of Education. About 11 faculty members of the school traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept the award. (Keith Norman / The Sun)2 / 3
Members of the staff and faculty at Edgeley Public School pose along with Gov. Jack Dalrymple, his wife Betsy, on the right, and Kirsten Baesler, third from left, with one of the signs Edgeley Community Development will place on the roads leading to the community. (Keith Norman / The Sun) 3 / 3

EDGELEY, N.D. —Travelers arriving here from any direction will see signs proclaiming this community as the home of a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School. The signs were purchased by Edgeley Community Development and will be placed along all of the major highways leading to or from the community.

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The presentation of one of the signs to the community was the finale of a program held in the school gymnasium Tuesday evening. Gov. Jack Dalyrmple and Kirsten Baesler, superintendent of public instruction for North Dakota, presented the award.

“My congratulations to Edgeley,” Dalyrmple said during the presentation. “We are here because this is a big deal. Out of the over 100,000 schools in the country, you are one of a handful at this level. I hope you are as proud of yourselves as the rest of us are of your accomplishments.”

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., offered her congratulations to the student body on Dec. 6, as well as in a videotaped message Tuesday.

“You will remember you went to a school with a national reputation,” she said to the students. “Believe in yourself and the wonderful options given you by your parents and teachers will become available to you. All of these efforts are because you are worth it.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognized 286 schools nationally and three in North Dakota. Along with Edgeley Elementary, Gussner Elementary in Jamestown and Wyndmere Elementary received the honor. The award recognizes very high levels of student performance or significant improvement to student academic achievement. The U.S. Department of Education selects the winners based on performance over the past five years.

Rick Diegle, superintendent of Edgeley Public School, said the award went beyond recognizing student performance.

“It means we have a lot of people working hard and together to educate our students the best we can,” he said. “There is the old adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ We like to think it takes a village to earn a blue ribbon. Everything within this building and within the community helped to make this possible.”

The school offers programs to allow community members to spend time with the students.

“Every Friday morning we have coffee with the kids,” Diegle said. “Community members come in to read to the kids or be read to by the older kids. It’s neat to see kids with the grandmas and grandpas of the community.”

Baesler echoed those thoughts.

“It is the positive environment and support system within the community that made this possible,” she said. “This is an incredible achievement and has earned you the privilege of being a blue ribbon school.”

Community members also recognized the importance of the school.

“Edgeley has a tradition of excellence in education,” said Kent Madcke, vice president of the Edgeley School Board. “The school is the heartbeat of the community. Without the school there would be no community.”

Steve Powers, Edgeley mayor, said the community is proud of the school’s accomplishments.

“But the real winners are the kids,” he said.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at