The Times West Virginian

September 26, 2013

Total excellence recognized with Monongah Middle’s Blue Ribbon award

Times West Virginian

— Think for a moment about the entire United States and the many thousands of schools that dot our nation’s landscape.

Then think that only 286 schools — from the entire country —  would be named National Blue Ribbon Schools.

What an honor that would be.

And from the 286 in the entire country, consider that only two of those awards would be going to West Virginia schools. And that one of them would be Monongah Middle School.

In its own way, that is one of the top education stories of the year in Marion County — maybe the top story. When one thinks of the odds against any school winning such an award — not only in West Virginia but in the entire country — that makes it all the more amazing.

Schools do not win National Blue Ribbon awards without a leader. Let’s make that a strong leader. And Monongah Middle School has that strong leader in principal Steve Malnick — one of the younger members of the county’s leadership group making an excellent name for himself.

Malnick was elated with the honor.

“It’s an honor for us not only as a school but a community to receive such national recognition,” Malnick said, noting that the school’s staff, faculty and students are the reasons that Monongah Middle School has won two exemplary school awards in addition to the national honor.

Monongah Middle is now the third Marion County school to be named a National Blue Ribbon School.

“Honestly, I believe the hard work from the faculty, staff and students has been inspirational in going that extra step to receive such an award,” Malnick said. “What I think it came down to was that we were acknowledged for the overall performance of our students.

“I’m very proud not only for the students and faculty, but for the community of Monongah. Monongah’s not a great big town, but there are some great things that happen in Monongah, and this is just one more thing they can add.”

Superintendent of Schools Gary Price admits he was surprised about Monongah Middle School’s latest honor. And he explained his feelings quite well.

“You’re confident because you knew they would be a good applicant,” he said of Monongah Middle.

“But you’re a bit surprised because you knew that they are up against a lot of schools across the U.S., and you just hope that when all is said and done, that they are recognized for the excellence they have achieved here.”

They certainly were.

And that’s the reason everyone in Monongah is still excited and most appreciative today about the students, faculty and staff at Monongah Middle School, along with the community, and the national recognition they have received.