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Community News: Mid-City

PICO-UNION : St. Thomas Named Blue-Ribbon School

March 14, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

Having overcome their share of obstacles, students and teachers at the St. Thomas Elementary School would like to share the secrets of their success with President Clinton.

The U.S. Department of Education recently recognized St. Thomas as one of the nation's Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, an award presented each year to outstanding public and private schools.

Schools are judged on the quality of instruction, the use of programs or policies to develop students' character, judgment and discipline and the effectiveness of relationships among students, teachers, parents and the community.

After learning of their award, the school's 310 students wrote a letter inviting Clinton to their school at 2632 15th St. The letter tells how the students have steered clear of drugs and gangs and devoted themselves to their studies.

"Please come and see for yourself," the letter urges Clinton. "We hope you will be as proud of us as we are."

St. Thomas was one of 228 schools, and the only Los Angeles school, selected this year, said principal Dan Horn.

In the last year, the school has been burglarized four times, the PTA president's car was stolen from the school's parking lot and shots were fired in a nearby park while students played outside, Horn said.

Horn and the school's staff put in nearly 1,000 hours to complete the 37-page application which required details about curricula, instructional methods, anti-drug policies, programs for underachieving students, extracurricular activities and other aspects of school life.

The award carries no money, but Horn said he hopes the recognition will attract enough donations to allow the school to renovate a nearby building.

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