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Belmont Middle School recognized by state for Excellence in Education

Belmont Middle School's staff and students were thrilled to learn they were selected as the 2018 Middle School of the Year. Making the presentation to them were representatives of the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards Program and McDonald's Corporation, a 25-year sponsor of the "EDie" awards. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 16, 2018
BELMONT — The 2017-18 school year has certainly been one to remember at Belmont Middle School. The celebrations began in September when BMS was one of only four schools in New Hampshire to be awarded a National Blue Ribbon Award as an Exemplary High Performing School, but the accolades didn't stop there. Next up was a special recognition for Principal Aaron Pope, who was named the New Hampshire Association of School Principals' Middle School Principal of the Year.

Capping it all off last week, BMS was recognized by the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards Program as Middle School of the Year.

Presenting the award to the school's staff and student body was Dorene Decibus, who was joined by fellow members of the "EDie" awards committee Bryan Belanger, Jessica Richardson and Annie Collacchi.

Decibus said the committee paid a visit to BMS back in March when they were considering candidate schools and they liked what they saw- hardworking teachers who were engaged in their teaching and students who were empowered as a result of those efforts.

"It didn't take us long to realize that Belmont Middle School was the Middle School of the Year… You now have bragging rights," she said.

Joining the EDie committee on Thursday morning was Larry Johnston, the Brand Ambassador for McDonald's, a major sponsor for the state's annual educational awards program. The 2017-18 school year, he said, marks 25 years of their partnership and he told the excited crowd, "They (the selection committee) obviously had wonderful judgment in selecting such a wonderful school!"

Johnston topped off his congratulations with the presentation of a check for $2,000 from McDonald's to be used in future educational endeavors at the school.

Principal Aaron Pope's first duty as head of the New Hampshire Middle School of the Year was to then ring the ceremonial EDie Bell. Soon the school will also receive their own engraved brass bell to commemorate their distinction this year.

"Everybody worked really hard at this," he said with pride, as he also took a moment to thank the teachers and staff who prepared for the selection committee's visit in March.

Pope then cued the music and as the sounds of Kool and the Gang's 1980s hit song "Celebrate" filled the gym, teachers, staff and students alike all danced.

"This is a great honor," Pope said afterward. "The students and staff worked really hard and it's so nice to see all that hard work pay off. There was a lot of time and effort put into the curriculum, the building and everything that goes on here. It's just a great place to be and it's been a great year."

Pope added that the recognitions BMS has received in the 2017-18 school year are all wonderful but he and the staff will not rest on their laurels.

"We're not going to stop presenting challenges to our students, whether that's here at the middle school, in high school or in life," he said.

Martin Lord Osman
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