St. Mary Magdalen School in Media was the only school in Delaware County to be lauded for its academic excellence by the U.S. Department of Education this week.

The Catholic school was one of 349 to be named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School honoree in a list that was released by the department on Monday. The National Blue Ribbon program is an annual distinction awarded to public and private schools for their overall academic excellence or their achievement in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

St. Mary Magdalen was honored in the category of exemplary high-performing schools. The school’s profile on the department’s website says students historically outperform 85 percent of students on a national level.

This is the first National Blue Ribbon designation for St. Mary Magdalen since the federal program began in 1982 and the first for a school of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in Delaware County since Newtown Square’s St. Anastasia School was honored in 2007.

According to a press release from the archdiocese, the school will celebrate this educational distinction on Oct. 5 with a Mass of thanksgiving at the parish church at 8:30 a.m. celebrated by Msgr. Ralph Chieffo. A pep rally will take place that morning where 2,000 blue ribbon balloons are expected to be dropped from the ceiling.

The archdiocese was relishing in the federal-level honors due to eight of their schools being placed on this year’s list.

“We are elated to have eight of our regional and parish elementary schools chosen among only 49 non-public schools across the country as part of this year’s National Blue Ribbon cohort,” said Archdiocesan Secretary for Elementary Education Andrew McLaughlin in a prepared statement. “We are particularly proud that these schools have been recognized for their commitment to academic excellence. Blue Ribbon awards are a testament to the partnership among the faculty, staff, and school families as well as all of their hard work and sacrifice to provide a Christ-centered, quality, 21st century education to each and every young person in their care.

“I offer my prayerful congratulations to the schools being recognized today. They are inspirational examples to all of us working in the field of Catholic education.”

The other archdiocesan schools in the five-county Philadelphia region to be named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School were: Our Lady of Mount Carmel School (Bucks County); St. Jude School (Bucks County); St. Joseph – St. Robert School (Bucks County); St. Katharine Drexel School (Bucks County); Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School (Chester County); Our Lady of Mercy Regional School (Montgomery County); and Mater Dei Regional Catholic School (Montgomery County).

The archdiocesan schools were of the 19 schools in Pennsylvania to be named a National Blue Ribbon School this year.

St. Mary Magdalen School will be formally recognized at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 7 and 8.

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