PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Students and staff at Tunstall High School are now considered some of the best in the nation in the eyes of the United States Department of Education.
"Wonderful feeling. They realized that their hard work is paying off and people are noticing what they're doing," said Tunstall Principal Brian Boles.
In February, the Virginia's Department of Education nominated schools for the U.S. Department of Education's Blue Ribbon designation. The schools then had to submit a lengthy application.
"The application begins with a look at your school data. Then, it talks about your curriculum and your connection to the curriculum with remediation, what you're doing in the classroom, review of data and then it goes on to talk about your community connection," Boles explained.
Tunstall was the only high school in the state to receive the designation in 2016. One middle school and five elementary schools, including Green Valley Elementary in Roanoke County, were the other schools in Virginia to receive the designation.
Tunstall is now one of only nine high schools in the commonwealth with the designation.
Pittsylvania County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Jones said this is a good sign for the future of the district.
"What we're doing at the other three high schools is very similar to what's taking place at Tunstall. So, we feel good that all of our high schools are high-performing schools," Jones pointed out.
He says this is also a compliment to the community and to the rest of Pittsylvania County's schools.
"We've got elementary and middle schools that feed Tunstall High School. This speaks volumes to what they're doing," said Dr. Jones.
Nationwide, 329 schools received Blue Ribbon designation this year.