Graveraet Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education

Graveraet was one of 13 Michigan schools to receive the honor, as well as the first in the U.P. to ever be named a Blue Ribbon School.
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - One Upper Peninsula school has received national recognition from the U.S. Secretary of Education.

On Wednesday at Graveraet Elementary School in Marquette, blue water in the outdoor fountains and blue ribbons on the doors welcomed students and staff. Both were symbols of the school’s status as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona awarded the honor to 325 schools for “exemplary high performance.” Graveraet was one of 13 in Michigan, as well as the only school in the U.P. to ever receive the title.

“This is our eighth year as a school, and this award was based on six years of student growth data,” said Graveraet Principal Dr. Sarah Kemppainen. “It’s awesome.”

Kemppainen credits dedicated staff members, like 3rd grade teacher Anne Girard, for making Graveraet an outstanding school.

“When we say that all kids can learn, we absolutely mean that,” Girard said, “but we want to make sure that all of our students absolutely believe that as well. When they believe in themselves, we see really great things happen.”

It’s not just academics that make Graveraet special. Dr. Kemppainen says the school focuses on the whole child, both through its social and emotional learning program and by building strong relationships with students.

“Where we know that it’s our first job and responsibility to grow our students academically, we also have a huge focus on their social and emotional growth,” said Dr. Kemppainen. “When students feel safe at school, they can grow and challenge themselves. This reward is really representative of that.”

To accept the honor, Dr. Kemppainen and one staff member will attend an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 4 and 5.

The official award certification from the U.S. Department of Education. Photo courtesy of...
The official award certification from the U.S. Department of Education. Photo courtesy of Graveraet Elementary.(WLUC)

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