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May 06. 2013 9:50PM

Bedford High School receives EDie honor

BEDFORD - Bedford High School received the New Hampshire Excellence in Education award, also known as the EDie, on Monday during a surprise visit to the school by the members of the 2013 selection committee.

"I think what set them apart is the student body, and we know how creative and vibrant they are," said Peter Weaver, head of the EDies high school selection committee. "They're taught by an exceptional faculty, and the community is behind them 100 percent. I think you can really see that there's vitality there, and it was that vibrancy of the school community that made us decide on selecting them."

The EDies are awarded each year to the state's top high school, middle school and elementary school. The awards, sponsored by McDonald's owner/operators, have been given out to exceptional schools for the past 20 years. This marks the first time that Bedford High has received the award.

"For them to have been recognized at a new school in just its sixth year of operation - I just find that really remarkable," said SAU 25 Superintendent Timothy Mayes. "This was a celebration for the whole community. This wasn't just us. It was the whole community - students, faculty, staff and parents. "

Students and most staff members were notified of the award during a morning assembly Monday at which a loud roar of approval came from students and teachers after the announcement was made.

"I tried to create a little bit of suspense," said Weaver. "We talked about the process of the EDie award, but it wasn't until it was officially announced that everybody there knew."

Weaver said Bedford came out on top out of 87 other high schools in the state. He said high schools throughout New Hampshire apply every year to be considered for the award. Selection is based on several criteria, including the success of students, the rigor of the curriculum, faculty excellence and the level of community support.

Selection committee members make site visits to the schools that have applied for recognition through the program.

Bedford High School's principal, William Hagen, echoed Mayes' comments about the award being recognition of the community's support for its high school.

"It really is an award that speaks loudly for the community," Hagen said. "I think that we hold ourselves to very high standards in a community that has very high expectations for its students."

Hagen said Bedford High "meets the needs of all kinds of learners," adding that "the way our teachers build relationships with students is one of the great things" about Bedford High.

Bedford High School was a Secondary School of Excellence finalist in last year's EDies awards.

Mayes said this year's award is a validation of the school's mission, "which is to try to push every kid beyond the limits of their own comfort zone. The faculty is trying to actually move each one of these kids to do better."

On Saturday, June 8, all of the state's schools of excellence will be honored at the 20th annual EDies award banquet at the Radisson in Manchester.

hmetz@newstote.com


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