OHS earns prestigious award


Science teacher Mary Whalen accepts the Blue Ribbon Award on behalf of the school in Washington D.C.

On Sept. 16, the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the National Blue Ribbon schools for 2022. OHS received the Exemplary High-Performing School award for the second time.

“We are the only high school in Ohio to win this year,” Principal Rob Griffiths said.

According to The Department of Education’s website, “Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.” Additionally, each state nominated schools in February based on their state test scores.

The official award ceremony was held in Washington D.C. on Nov. 3-4. Mary Whalen, science teacher, traveled to accept the award in place of Griffiths because his son’s wedding was the same day as the ceremony, according to Griffiths.

While there are no monetary rewards, the Blue Ribbon designation provides other accolades. It shows colleges and employers students from Olentangy received a quality education.

“I was shocked. I mean, I’m glad that we got it, since it’s a high achievement. It was shocking in a good way,” junior Marissa Uthup said.

Other students didn’t initially know what the award meant. After they learned how it reflects positively on their experiences, they were impressed.

“I liked it a little more when I found out it helps with college admissions,” sophomore Nora Clark said.

Sophomore Matthew Halley said he didn’t know what it was when his elementary school, (Scioto Ridge), received the honor. He cared more when he found out OHS won.

In addition to the benefits, the Blue Ribbon represents the hard work and dedication of the staff and students. Griffiths filled out and submitted the application, but he relied on other staff members to provide relevant information. For example, he asked all of the department chairs to assist him in writing the sections about their department.

The entire student body and staff also contributed to OHS’s success.

“Teachers work hard to teach good lessons. The student body is focused and it means something to them. All the standardized test scores got us the nomination. It comes down to the student body caring,” Griffiths said.

The Blue Ribbon designation recognized the pride students have in their school and education. It’s a tangible measurement of the excellency Olentangy Schools strive for.

“I’ve always been proud to be the principal here. I’m proud of our staff and our students. I say ‘be brave’ at the end of every tweet because it means something to students, and it continues to mean something after they graduate,” Griffiths said.