Yorktown High School has received a Blue Ribbon for overall academic excellence from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2019 school year.

The high school was the only public school in Westchester County awarded a Blue Ribbon for year 2019.

“It’s an extraordinary recognition of academic excellence for Yorktown High School and the entire Yorktown Central School District. It’s a fitting acknowledgement of the fine work of our facility, staff and students,” Yorktown Superintendent Dr. Ron Hattar said.

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The National Blue Ribbon School Program, which has been in effect since 1982, awards Blue Ribbons based on school performance, with eligible schools receiving one of three awards: Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools, Exemplary Improving Schools and Exemplary High Performing Schools.  

Yorktown High School received the recognition as an Exemplary High Performing School.

“I’m really happy for the entire district, from our Board of Education to our district administrators; our facility and staff at all levels, K through 12. It really speaks to the vision and implementation of the goals to develop the whole child and within the framework of a K through 12 organization. We feel like all the hard work of the many years have really come to fruition with this award,” Yorktown High School Principal Joseph DeGennaro said.

The U.S. Department of Education reached out to district officials this past spring to let them know they were in consideration for a Blue Ribbon. The school then went through an application process before receiving the award.

Hattar and DeGennaro said that the expanded opportunities for student success that have been implemented at the high school contributed to the nomination, including co-curricular activities, athletic opportunities and new courses.

This is the second national award Yorktown High School has received in the past three years; the district was named a National District of Character in 2016.

Hattar also attributed the success of the school to DeGennaro’s leadership, saying that “he’s been such a steady force guiding the high school for the past 12 years.”

On Nov. 14 and 15, a ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C., that will honor the 312 public schools and 50 private schools as Blue Ribbon recipients. Each school will receive a plaque signifying the schools academic excellence.

According to Hattar, the plaque will be “hanging up right in front of our high school.”