Green and gold Vikings awarded the National Blue Ribbon


Kelly Wang, Contributing Writer

As a school that was, little known to many today, once called Palatine High School South, William Fremd High School has come quite a long way since it’s opening day in 1963. Through these 56 years, Fremd has established itself as one of the best high schools in the United States, most recently being recognized as one of 99 outstanding high schools across the country, and receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award, the highest honor a school can receive in the United States. 

The program was established by the then-Secretary of Education, Terrel Bell, in 1982. Bell had supported A Nation at Risk, which was a movement that brought attention to America’s “mediocre schools” that threatened the education of future generations. The National Blue Ribbon Program awards public and private schools including elementary, middle, and high schools for academic excellence or progress made in closing achievement gaps between student subgroups. 

Alongside 24 other schools in Illinois, Fremd received the award, making it one of now 9,000 schools over the course of the award’s history to become a National Blue Ribbon school. This is Fremd’s third time receiving this prestigious award, with its prior two years being a recipient of 1986 and 1987. In the past five years, Fremd has worked towards eliminating the opportunity gap in graduation rates, discipline, advanced placement (AP) attendance, and dual-credit class enrollments. With more than 60 sponsored extracurricular activities, Fremd staff help contribute to Fremd students’ success in and out of school. 

Principal Kurt Tenopir credits Fremd staff and families for propelling the school on this path to becoming a Blue Ribbon high school. 

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School,” Principal Tenopir said. “Fremd High School is extremely fortunate to have a talented and caring faculty, strong parent involvement and community support, and resources to provide rich educational opportunities for all students.”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with the United States Department of Education, will commend the 312 public and 50 non-public school Blue Ribbon Award recipients on Nov. 14 and 15. Each year, there can be up to 412 schools that receive the Blue Ribbon Award. There will be an award ceremony celebrating those schools in Washington D.C. Each school receives a plaque and National Blue Ribbon School flag to display at the awards luncheon which annually occurs in November. 

Superintendent Daniel Cates emphasizes the sense of pride and positivity the Blue Ribbon Award has brought to Fremd that will help the school move forward in every aspect. 

“By fostering meaningful connections and helping students truly develop a sense of belonging in all of our schools, students are responding very positively,” Superintendent Cates said. “This great work is taking place throughout the district and this recognition affirms that everyone’s efforts make a difference for students. The Blue Ribbon put a little wind in people’s sails and it is a great way to affirm everyone’s hard work across the district.”