Still basking in the honor of recently being named a National Blue Ribbon School by United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Immaculate Conception School welcomed a special guest in United States Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., Thursday afternoon.

In front of a crowd of students and staff, Noem formally recognized IC School’s impressive accomplishment by presenting a challenge coin to Principal Carol Dagel.

By earning the Blue Ribbon honor, IC School was recognized for finishing in the top 15 percent of schools in the state as measured by the Smarter Balanced English language arts and mathematics standardized tests. Dagel also submitted a 25-page application capturing the school’s mission and methods in educating its students.

Out of 130,000 eligible schools, IC School was one of just 342 schools across the nation to earn the Blue Ribbon honor. In South Dakota, Frederick Area Elementary School and Robert Bennis Elementary School in Brandon also earned the Blue Ribbon.

“This is a very special award and a big deal for IC School, as well as for Frederick Area Elementary and Robert Bennis. I’m glad that these students, teachers and administrators were recognized for their hard work and we can all celebrate this together,” Noem told the Public Opinion.

In addition to recognizing IC School’s accomplishment, Noem answered students’ questions as well exchanged hugs and high fives.

Later Thursday, Noem visited the Watertown Police Department to speak with local law enforcement officers in a roundtable about the issues they are facing.

“We’ve seen crime escalate across the state as well as drug use. I want to visit with them about ways we can cooperate together,” Noem said. “In addition to federal grants being out there, I’ve been working with the United States Attorney General on maybe pilot programs we can implement here in South Dakota that would be beneficial to our officers and assist them with some of the work that they do.”

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