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U.S. Department of Education Honors Two Chicago-Area Catholic Schools as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Recipients

Catholic schools located in the archdiocese have received 119 Blue Ribbon Awards.

Chicago, (Sept. 21, 2021) – The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today that Prince of Peace School in Lake Villa has been recognized this year by the U.S. Department of Education with a Blue Ribbon Award. The National Blue Ribbon Award is presented to a school based on its overall academic excellence or progress in closing student achievement gaps. In addition, Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, an independent Catholic school, was also recognized with a 2021 National Blue Ribbon Award. Catholic schools in the archdiocese have received 119 Blue Ribbon Awards.

“We are incredibly proud of the two Chicago-area Catholic schools for being recognized with distinguished Blue Ribbon Awards,” said Greg Richmond, superintendent of Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools. “The benefits of a Catholic education develop a child holistically through faith formation, academic achievement and the importance of civic and community engagement. With the challenges of a global pandemic, it’s gratifying to know the efforts of our teachers, administrators, students and their families have been deservedly honored.”

Both schools were recognized under the category of “Exemplary High Performing Schools,” meaning the schools are among the state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Both schools have earned this prestigious honor previously: Prince of Peace School received the award in 2014 and Carmel Catholic High School in 1985, 1996, 2002 and 2007.

"This year's cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better."

The U.S. Department of Education awarded 2021 Blue Ribbons to 325 schools – 302 public and 23 private. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards on more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination again five years after earning an award. 

Catholic high school seniors in the Archdiocese of Chicago graduate at a rate of more than 98 percent. Ninety-five percent of Catholic high school graduates in the archdiocese go on to college, earning millions of dollars in college scholarships each year. Catholic school graduates are committed to helping others through community service, a commitment that continues through adulthood. Catholic school graduates are also more likely to vote and be found in leadership positions in business, government and non-profit organizations.