Gov. Martin O’Malley and other state and local officials celebrated Maryland public school’s top ranking at Jones Elementary School on Thursday afternoon.
Maryland’s public schools was certified Thursday as No. 1 in the nation for the fifth straight year by Education Week Magazine.
O’Malley addressed fifth-grade students, teachers, Superintendent Kevin Maxwell and others during a brief celebration in which he spoke of the importance of education.
“There is no better investment than education,” O’Malley told the crowd. “Thanks to tough choices and important priorities we made Maryland schools No. 1 for the fifth year in a row.”
O’Malley congratulated Jones Elementary's teachers and students—who waved foam fingers and Maryland flags—and credited their hard work and dedication to education for the state’s success. Jones Elementary principal Sara Pickens said it was an honor to have the governor at the school.
“It was quite an honor and quite a surprise. We only found out about it Tuesday evening,” Pickens said. “We didn’t find out until this morning why the governor was having the press conference. It was a really happy honor when we found out Maryland was nominated No. 1 for the fifth straight year in a row.”
State delegate and Severna Park native Cathy Vitale (R-District 33A) was also in attendance Thursday. She said she thought Jones was a perfect fit for the celebration.
“He couldn’t have picked a better school than Jones,” Vitale said. “It was the community around Jones that donated the land to the school. There’s a great representation of community here. It’s a little school tucked away in the community but they are so proud.”
House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Annapolis) and Betty Weller, president of the Maryland State Education Association, also addressed the crowd Thursday. Busch said that he has two daughters in Anne Arundel County Public Schools and that he is very proud of that.
Jones Elementary PTA president Bonnie Levin was also in attendance for the celebration and she spoke of how proud the PTA is of the students and teachers.
“It’s really such a great honor and a privilege,” Levin said. “We are so proud of our teachers, staff and kids that help make Maryland No. 1. It’s an honor to have them celebrate at Jones.”
O’Malley concluded by asking the kids what classes they were missing. The group of fifth-graders responded by shouting out a myriad of subjects with enthusiasm and then lined up to pose for a photo with the governor.
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