Sugar Land school earns third National Blue Ribbon award

October 10, 2023

St. Laurence Catholic School Principal Suzanne Barto in Sugar Land celebrates with students on recently winning the National Blue Ribbon School award for the third time from the U.S. Department of Education. (Photo courtesy of St. Laurence Catholic School In Sugar Land)

SUGAR LAND — St. Laurence Catholic School in Sugar Land, founded in 1992, has achieved an exceptional milestone, earning the prestigious 2023 National Blue Ribbon Award for the third time in the school’s history, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced.

St. Laurence is one of the largest pre-kindergarten to eighth-grade schools in the Archdiocese and has been recognized as a STREAM Synergy School, which celebrates the school’s efforts to incorporate science, technology, religion, engineering, the arts and mathematics in its programming. The diverse school is also accredited by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Educational Department and was voted a “Best of the Best” finalist by the Houston Chronicle.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, “The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to raise the bar in education. The leaders, educators and staff at our National Blue Ribbon Schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures. We take tremendous pride in the achievements of these schools and their commitment to empowering educators, serving students and engaging families.”

Dr. Debra Haney, secretariat director and superintendent of Catholic Schools, said, “Catholic schools have a long history of academic excellence, and St. Laurence continues that legacy with this third U.S. Department of Education 2023 National Blue Ribbon Award as an exemplary high performing school.”

She added, “I could not be prouder of the students, teachers and administrators for maintaining such excellence in achievement, even amidst the challenges that we have faced in education following a global pandemic. St. Laurence Catholic School constantly strives to ensure that each child on their campus has their spiritual, physical, academic and socio-emotional needs met, and more importantly, that they are prepared for Heaven!”

As one of only 40 non-public schools in the nation and three in the state of Texas (all Catholic in Texas and 90% Catholic nationwide) to receive the award, St. Laurence again joins the ranks among the state’s highest-performing schools as measured by nationally normed tests.

Father Drew Wood remarked, “What a beautiful faculty, administration and students we have at St. Laurence. I am so blessed to be pastor of this three-time National Blue Ribbon School. Our theme this year from Sirach is ‘Give New Signs and Work New Wonders.’ I feel that our school is one of God’s wonders.”

Principal Suzanne Barto said, “Being recognized as a three-time National Blue Ribbon School is such an honor, and we are very proud of this accomplishment. This award is a testament to the dedication of our teachers, the hard work of our students and the support of our parents. It serves as a celebration of our community’s collective commitment to excellence.”

She added, “The timing is especially notable since qualifying scores were based on student performance during the pandemic when students and staff were working remotely and in person at the same time. As a Catholic school, we are blessed to have our faith guide and sustain us in difficult times. This also keeps us focused on our mission of developing well-rounded students who are challenged to go out and make a positive impact in the world.”

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education honors the National Blue Ribbon Schools at the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. At the ceremony, each school receives a plaque and flag to signify its exemplary status. These schools serve as examples for other schools throughout the nation, and details of their achievements are shared on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.