Students and staff at Dwight School dressed in their Blue Ribbon finest Wednesday to celebrate the school's recognition as one of the nation's finest.
In September, Dwight School was named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School based on overall academic excellence. The distinction, bestowed by the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, was awarded to only three other schools in Connecticut, and 269 total schools across the country.
"This celebration is due to your hard work, the teachers' hard work, and [former principal] Ms. Anziano's hard work," Principal Scott Bannon told the students at Wednesday's National Blue Ribbon Ceremony.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau agreed that the award is the product of team effort. He told the students that they learned a great life lesson in understanding the importance of teamwork.
"It took an entire school to be recognized as one of the best schools in the nation," Tetreau said. "Put that effort into everything you do -- you are that good and now you have to keep that up."
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Federal Department of Education seeks nominations from the top education official in every state. The Secretary of Education then invites nominated schools to submit an application that must be jointly completed by staff and parents to win the award.
The award was presented to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Title and former principal Brenda Anziano in Washington D.C. in November.
"I am very proud to be superintendent of Fairfield Public Schools," Title said. "You should all be very proud of what you do."
Anziano, who was the principal at Dwight School until the spring and now heads Riverfield School, thanked the students, teachers, and parents for their respective roles.
"Your parents always supported our work," she said. "The teachers are the best teachers in the world, as far as I'm concerned. Dwight students take learning very, very seriously."
"I loved being your principal -- Dwight is a very special place," she continued.
Following the ceremony -- which featured two musical performances by the kindergarten class and the fifth grade chorus -- all of Dwight's students teamed up to put together a blue paper chain to reach around the interior of the school.
The chain didn't quite make it all the way around -- but the students displayed the kind of joint effort that distinguishes a National Blue Ribbon School.