Maire receives 2017 National Blue Ribbon School Award


Photo by: Michelle Kramer

Students gathered outside to form a giant “M” to celebrate Maire’s Blue Ribbon Award.

Elizabeth Flower '20, Staff Writer

Maire elementary school earned the 2017 National Blue Ribbon School Award on Sept. 28, one of only 13 schools in Michigan to receive this honor.

This award can honor any type of school at any level; public and private elementary, middle and high schools are all eligible to be bestowed the National Blue Ribbon Award. Overall, 342 schools received this award throughout the country.

Dr. Gary Niehaus, superintendent of the Grosse Pointe Public School System, is proud of all the work Maire’s faculty has done to make learning a better experience for their students.

It is an honor and privilege to have Maire Elementary School as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017,” Niehaus stated.

According to Sonja Franchett, principal of Maire, the school had been asked in January if they would like to go through the application process. This meant the school had to put in a lot of effort within the application in order to achieve the award. Therefore, Franchett officially found out they had won in September, but wasn’t that surprised.

“Only 13 schools in the state every year are nominated, so we’re taking it as a very great honor.” Franchett said.

Michelle Hunwick, first grade teacher at Maire, said the school received this award because of the strong relationships between staff and students.

“I really believe what sets our staff apart is our efforts to reach each student’s individual needs; behaviorally, academically and socially,” Hunwick said. “The type of relationship we have with our kids is key.”

Franchett said since Maire was granted this honor, she’s received a lot of praise on behalf of the school from many people in the community, especially parents.

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from parents..they’re thrilled, especially those parents of the new students,” Franchett said. “It was very affirming from our parent population.”

Since they have won this award, Franchett and another staff member from Maire got the chance to attend the award ceremonies with the other winning schools in Washington D.C., which occurred on Nov. 6-7.

“I’m super excited to get to know some of the other people who were awarded this year,” Franchett said before leaving for D.C.

Maire has been doing and planning various events to celebrate achieving this award, according to Franchett.

“We had some discussions in an assembly, and we talked about being leaders when you’re a blue ribbon school,” Franchett said. “Then we all have worn blue and made a big giant M on the playground and had our picture taken.”

Franchett believes Maire being a community-oriented school contributed to them receiving the award.

“Having the high peer participation, the high teacher collaboration and that common vision of making sure every child succeeds and learns everyday is probably one of the main reasons we got that award.” Franchett said.

Hunwick has taught at Maire for 22 years and is very proud to be a part of the Maire community.

“We’re just a wonderful community to work in,” Hunwick said. “I feel like that’s a special thing, we have a diverse school that values family backgrounds and the cultural traditions in each and every student, and we work to reach every single student.”