The U.S. Department of Education is out with its list of Blue Ribbon Schools across the nation, and nine of those schools are in Virginia.
Seven of the nine are private schools, while just two are public schools. One of those public schools is right here in our region.
It's not in a metropolitan area, but rural southwest Virginia. The electronic sign out front of Grundy High School proudly flashes that it's been chosen as one of the nation's Blue Ribbon Schools.
The praise for such an accomplishment is quick to go straight to the classroom. "We're support personnel. Whatever we do is to help that classroom teacher with the education process of the student. When that teacher goes into that classroom and closes that door, that's your real education system," says school superintendent Larry Ashby.
And from those classrooms come members of the Blue Ribbon nomination committee. "We have a group of kids that just a bunch of different kids from all over the school that hang out in different groups. We just talk about how great the school is and what they offer us," senior Loni Webb said.
What they offer is inspiration for future study with some specific goals in mind. "[I want to study] chemistry or in medical probably," junior Lindsey Boyd says
"I love math, I love studying math. I like reading, [I'll] probably become an engineer," senior Wayne Mutter said.
"Probably pharmacy school [for me]," adds junior Morgan Hall.
And they're not taking those skills and dreams elsewhere, but bringing them back home. "[Psychologists are] something this area needs. We don't have any psychologist or psychiatrist in the Grundy area. So I thought maybe I'd stay around here awhile," junior Dylan Shortt said.
It's an educational slam dunk for the school, like their robotics team now in it's twelfth year. "It just seems to keep going and going. We've got so many kids now who are engineers, technologists, machinists, who were inspired by the first robotics team," English teacher Rebecca Elswick said.
"I feel like if everybody works hard then you can accomplish just about anything you really want to," junior Lindsey Boyd added.
Like becoming a Blue Ribbon School.