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May 06. 2013 7:30PM

Seabrook Middle School is place of excellence


Audrey Notargiacomo, 13, left, and Baylee Cox, 13, showed off their Seabrook pride Monday during an assembly to announce that Seabrook Middle School earned the Middle School of Excellence award for high standards of excellence. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)
SEABROOK - Audrey Notargiacomo and Baylee Cox picked a good day to paint their faces half blue and half white to show their pride for Seabrook Middle School.

On Monday, the state Department of Education brought students, faculty and other school staff together to announce the big news: For the first time, Seabrook Middle School was recognized as the Middle School of Excellence, an honor presented through the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards Program.

For eighth graders like Baylee, the news was bittersweet. The 13-year-old will be leaving the award-winning school and heading off to high school next year.

"I'm going to miss it," she said.

The award was kept hush-hush until Monday, when the school learned that it earned the middle school award for its high standards of excellence.

The honor is often referred to as an "Edies" Award and has been sponsored by McDonald's owner/operators in New Hampshire since it began 20 years ago.

East Kingston Elementary School and Bedford High School were also recognized Monday.

Seabrook Middle School was chosen after members of a selection committee visited to see for themselves how students were being taught.

During the visit, the committee "felt a sense of community that was unbelievable," Barbara Gondek, chairman of the middle school selection committee, told the 300 students and 50 teachers and staff members who gathered for the assembly.

The school was scored in several areas, Gondek said, and became the first middle school to score above and beyond exceptional in every area.

State Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, praised the school for its achievement and read a message from the Senate.

"I know how tough it is to get this award. Those standards are really stiff and you guys have done a tremendous job. Thank you to the staff and to the students and to the administration for such great, great work," she said.

Principal Les Shepard said the award was a "wonderful recognition" for students, staff and the community.

"We have a great school here. We have great kids here. We have supportive parents and other community members," he said.

The award-winning schools will be honored at an EDies award celebration on June 8.

jschreiber@newstote.com

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