East Kingston Elementary School Principal Jim Eaves shows off a special cap and school bell as students file out of the gymnasium on Monday after an awards ceremony honoring the school as this year's New Hampshire Elementary School of Excellence. (GRETYL MACALASTER PHOTO)
East Kingston Elementary earns statewide honor
But now, everyone in East Kingston can say it with no reservations after their elementary school was named the 2013 New Hampshire Elementary School of Excellence on Monday.
The Excellence in Education Initiative, often referred to as the "EDies", recognizes New Hampshire public schools that meet high standards of excellence.
Owners and operators of McDonald's restaurants in New Hampshire have sponsored the EDies since the program's inception 20 years ago.
On Saturday, June 8 all of the New Hampshire Schools of Excellence will be honored during an awards celebration in Manchester.
Many East Kingston Elementary School students submitted stories about why they love their school, including second-grader Skylar Davidson, whose essay was read aloud.
"I think this is a great school because we have great helpers," Davidson said.
That message was echoed by teachers, Eaves and superintendent Michael Morgan.
"It is like a private school education in a public school environment," Morgan said. Class sizes are small and there is a focus on individualized attention as a result. The school also has a strong collaboration with the University of New Hampshire, and eight to 10 Master's level student interns assist the staff each year.
Mary Estee, chair of the elementary school selection committee for the EDies, said the small K-5 school with about 185 students was compared by one teacher to the little engine that could.
"We think your school is the little school that could," Estee said.
Eaves said submitting the nomination was his way of recognizing and saying thank you to his staff and students.
But winning is for the entire community, he added.
Victoria Decatur, 11, said she loves coming to school each day, and every year on the bus ride home from the last day of school she starts to cry because of the nice teachers she has had.
"Just all the teachers putting a lot of effort into what they do," Emerson Trimmer, 10, said of why she loves her school.
Physical education teacher Chris Benson said it is one big community school, with effort made not only by teachers but by parents and the greater community.